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J&K groups, Al Qaeda have ties: US
Josy Joseph in New Delhi |
May 21, 2003 15:33 IST
For the first time, the United States has admitted that terrorist groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, which are operating in Jammu and Kashmir, have links with the Al Qaeda.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage made this clear to Pakistani leaders during his recent visit to the subcontinent, Indian sources told rediff.com on Wednesday.
He also told his hosts that they are plotting against Pakistani and US interests, according to the sources.
The Americans cited a recent plot to assassinate Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf as an example, the source said.
Indian agencies have for long been saying that Kashmiri terrorist groups and the Al Qaeda have extensive ties.
Inputs from various ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] countries have supported this claim.
In fact, some Indian intelligence assessments have warned that the Kashmiri groups and the Al Qaeda might have some 'common cadre'.
According to Indian agencies, the Kashmiri groups also have ties with other international outfits.
The Harkat-ul-Ansar, which no more officially exists but whose set up and network have been taken over by the Jaish, has had relations with groups such as The Philippines' Abu Sayyaf and Indonesia's Jemaah Islamiah.
India claims their cadres trained together in Afghanistan years ago.
Following Armitage's visit, more pressure is expected to mount on Pakistan.
On Tuesday, it proscribed the Hizbul Mujahideen and banned its leaders from entering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Following the attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, it had banned the Jaish and the Lashkar.