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Taliban serious threat to India: Manmohan

Taliban serious threat to India: Manmohan

Author: Pioneer News Service
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 11, 2009

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday expressed concern over the spreading influence of the Taliban and said it posed a serious threat to India. He also said terrorists could try to disrupt poll process in the country.

The Prime Minister's remarks during a media interaction came in the wake of unconfirmed reports of the Taliban trying to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir in the last few weeks. In fact, reports suggested that the Taliban fighters had sneaked into the State through Kupwara and Gurez sectors.

"It is a serious threat," the Prime Minister said in reply to a question on reports about Taliban militants trying to sneak into India.

"There is no doubt that terrorists with evil designs have not given up efforts to influence the poll process," he said, adding, "The fact is that successful poll process in Jammu and Kashmir was not liked by elements abroad."

When asked why India, like US, has not been able to stop terrorist attacks in the country, the Prime Minister said, "We have not been able to do things in the Draconian manner in which the US handles the issue."

Admitting that India has not been successful in warding off terror attacks, the Prime Minister said it required greater attention. In a virtual rebuff to former Home Minister Shivraj Patil, the Prime Minister said, "Under a new Home Minister we have come up with a new strategy. There is no other way but to strengthen the police and intelligence machinery to tackle terror designs."

The Prime Minister's admission about lurking threat from Taliban comes in the backdrop of Army carrying out an intensive operation spread over more than five days to deal with a large group of infiltrators in Kupwara sector in the last week of March.

That encounter saw 18 terrorists and eight Army men, including an officer, getting killed. Similarly, the encounter in the mountainous terrain of Gurez soon after, which was under more than ten feet of snow, saw the Army killing one militant and the hunt was on to trace other terrorists who could have infiltrated into the country.

The security forces, so far, denied that the Taliban had made its presence felt in Jammu and Kashmir and sources said here on Friday there was no credible evidence to prove the presence of the Taliban.

They, however, admitted that the present lot of militants, most of them owing allegiance to the Laskhar-e-Tayyeba were better trained and equipped with GPS, snow boots and weaponry. Moreover, the encounter in Kupwara in March saw the militants fighting the security forces in a very well-trained and disciplined manner.

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