Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Al-Qaeda has designs on Kashmir

Al-Qaeda has designs on Kashmir

Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: May 30, 2002

Al-Qaeda and Taliban members are helping organize a terror campaign in Kashmir to foment conflict between India and Pakistan, US intelligence officials and foreign diplomats say.

The strategy of the terrorist network and its allies in the ousted Afghan government is to relieve pressure on Al-Qaeda members hiding in western Pakistan by forcing the Pakistani government to move troops searching for the terrorists to the eastern border with India.

This is being done to destabilize the Pakistan government by raising tensions with India.

Al-Qaeda's ability to coordinate terrorist activities in Kashmir worries US officials because it indicates the war in Afghanistan hasn't put the group out of business. The shift of Pakistani troops to the Indian border leaves US operatives in western Pakistan without crucial allies to pursue Al-Qaeda leaders that might include Osama bin Laden.

Sources familiar with US Intelligence analysis say Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives in the part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan are helping terrorists they had trained in Afghanistan to enter India.

Their goal, says an Intelligence official, is to "cause the biggest problem between India and Pakistan that they possibly can." The intelligence is coming from interrogations of Al-Qaeda and Taliban members, as well as information supplied by intelligence organizations in Pakistan and India, the officials say.

Robert Oakley, former US ambassador to Pakistan, says that if Al-Qaeda can do something to bring India and Pakistan to war, that's wonderful for them as it relieves pressure on them.

A link between al-Qaeda and Kashmiri militants would pose an awkward problem for the United States, which would have trouble carrying out its war against Al-Qaeda and still remain neutral in the India-Pakistan dispute.

USA Today

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