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Rebel groups fighting in Kashmir lying low after Taliban surrender

Rebel groups fighting in Kashmir lying low after Taliban surrender

Publication: The Daily Excelsior
Date: December 11, 2001
URL: http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/01dec11/inter.htm#4

After the devastation faced by the Taliban, major Pakistan-based rebel groups fighting in Kashmir are said to be "fearful" about their future, a report from Lahore has said.

The Dubai-based Gulf news, however, said rebel groups still have plans to carry out operations, if necessary under the guise of allied groups based inside Kashmir.

There has clearly been an increase in Government monitoring and pressure on these groups although they continue to enjoy at least the "covert backing" of Islamabad that still sees them as central to Pakistan's Kashmir policy, the report said.

All the major groups, including the Harkat-ul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Al Badrul Mujahideen have made clear that they are willing to carry on their struggle even if they face direct official opposition though they are keeping a low profile for the time being.

The Harkat-ul Mujahideen, banned by the United States, is restricting its activities mainly to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). This is also true of the other groups, which apparently following "advice from friends", are moving to this area, the paper reported.

All of them continue to retain recruitment centres across the country displaying the name of the organisation and there seems to be no effort to limit the operations of such offices.

"We give people a choice on whether or not to join us and the Government has no right to intervene in this," a leader of the Al Badrul Mujahideen was quoted by the Gulf news as saying.

Al Badr, one of the newer rebel groups that is said to have the "patronage" of powerful quarters, is reported to have avoided sending fighters into Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the Harkat-ul Mujahideen told Gulf News it is also assessing the human losses it suffered in Afghanistan.

Al Badr seems to have come under less intensive scrutiny than other groups because they avoided getting involved in Afghanistan. Sources told the paper that this is a "survival tactic for the future".

Despite such tactics, the rebel organisations are aware that they could face more trying times ahead, mainly as a consequence of pressure from the west to limit their activities. (UNI)

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