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Pak training militants in mountain warfare

Source: PTI
October 13, 2003 10:53 IST
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Pakistan is raising 'special militant groups' to target mountainous terrains along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir by imparting them high altitude warfare in Federally Administered Tribal Areas bordering Afghanistan, top security force sources said.

Militants drawn from Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Harkat-ul-Jehadi-Islami, al-Badr and tribals of North West Frontier Province and FATA were being trained at the High Altitude Mountain Warfare schools at Wazirstan, Khyber, Bajaur and Kurram, sources told PTI.

Run by Pakistan's Northern Frontier Light Infantry Brigade, these mountain warfare schools are training 'militants in guise of soldiers', they said.

These training schools are being financed by drug barons of Golden Crescent, popularly known as 'Maliks of FATA', who had extended financial help to warring Afghan groups during the war with Russia as well as Talibans, churned by Markaz-e-Dawaza, the sources said.

"The aim of training militants in special high altitude, mountain and snow bound warfare is aimed to target the mountainous and snow-bound terrains along the LoC in J&K during the coming winter," they said. "They may be used to carry out special operations like Kargil intrusion in J&K hills."

The NFLI Brigade looks after operational area opposite to Siachen-Kargil-Ladakh Sector of J&K and was the main brain behind Kargil intrusion.

A four-month crash course is being imparted to these militants and the first batch would soon be out to be used for sabotage operation in high altitude areas in J&K borders, they said.

Evidence and intelligence reports collected on these activities said American M-16 assault rifles, 7 mm-automatic sub-machine guns, Chinese rocket launchers, special American air defence guns and even shoulder fired Stinger missiles were being used in training and some of these would be given to them for use in J&K.

Eighty-five terrorist training camps and 129 launching pads have also been revived in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, they added.

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