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Jihadi admits getting training in Pakistan

T V Parasuram in Washington | August 26, 2003 23:54 IST
Last Updated: August 27, 2003 03:16 IST

One of the three men who appeared in a United States court on charges of running a local jihad network has admitted to receiving arms training in northern Virginia and Lashkar-e-Tayiba's terror camp in Pakistan for a possible mission in Kashmir.

While the three accused pleaded guilty of 'conspiracy and gun charges' in the federal court in Virginia on Monday, Yong Ki Kwon admitted that, besides in US, he received training at a Lashkar camp in Pakistan.

At the camp, Yong said he fired weapons ranging from machine guns to rocket-propelled grenades.

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Yong, Khwaja Mahmood Hasan and Donald T Surratt were among the 11 people accused of being part of a local holy war network that trained to support LeT.

Yong told District Judge Leonie M Brinkema the group possessed a variety of weapons and practiced military tactics while practicising with paintball guns in the Virginia countryside.

The 11 men are also charged with training in military tactics to support LeT and some of them, including Yong, visited Pakistan in 2001 to serve the militant group.

When asked by the judge why the group trained in secret, Yong said, "We did not want any undue attention, and we did not want any trouble with the government."

Prosecutors have viewed the case as a key step in the war on terrorism and said that the men were part of a conspiracy to support 'violent jihad' overseas.

They have presented no evidence that the men were plotting attacks on the US but, under the Neutrality Act, it is a crime to plot war against friendly countries from American soil, in this case India.

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