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Al-Qaeda leaders are in Pakistan, heading for Kashmir: Indian diplomat

Al-Qaeda leaders are in Pakistan, heading for Kashmir: Indian diplomat

Publication: Agence France-Presse
Date: December 30, 2001

Washington, Dec 30 (AFP) - India's ambassador to the United States said Sunday al-Qaeda leaders were already in Pakistan and may soon be carrying out terrorist activities in the disputed border areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

"Al-Qaeda leadership has already fled into Pakistan. Our concern is that from Pakistan they will make a beeline for Jammu and Kashmir and carry on more terrorist activities," Ambassador Lalit Mansingh said on Fox News.

India has massed tens of thousands of troops on its border with Pakistan after a deadly December 13 attack by gunmen on its parliament, which New Delhi blames on militant groups in Pakistan.

Pakistan is also moving troops to its border with India, worrying Washington that it is pulling forces away from the border with Afghanistan and the search for fleeing al-Qaeda fighters.

"This threat of moving troops from one front to another just sounds to me like blackmail," Mansingh said. "You don't need to move troops, you do not need to do anything except to shut down the terrorist groups within that country."

Tensions between India and Pakistan have soared since a bloody December 13 assault on India's parliament, which New Delhi accuses Pakistan's military intelligence of masterminding. Islamabad denies the allegation.

The standoff between the two longtime rivals has fueled fears of further regional conflict and could undermine Islamabad's role as a key ally in the US-led war on terrorism.

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