This Article is From Apr 08, 2009

Taliban men sneak into J&K: NDTV reports

Taliban men sneak into J&K: NDTV reports

Is the Taliban now operating in Kashmir? According to intelligence intercepts, which NDTV has a copy of, that is very much the case.

The presence of the Taliban comes at a time when the Indian Army is taking on some of the most motivated and best trained terrorists it has ever encountered trying to infiltrate Kashmir.

Transcripts of the taped conversations available with NDTV show that the Lashkar is in fact worried about Taliban presence in Kashmir.

Transcript of the intercepted conversation:

LeT man 1: What were you saying?
LeT man 2: I was saying that new people who have come are all Taliban. They are only talking about killing and getting killed. We are very disturbed because of them.
LeT man 1: Throw them out from there.
LeT man 2: For that I will have to speak to 'Big Brother'.
LeT man 1: Ok.

Police sources admit the presence of Taliban in the Valley, although home minister would only say groups have now morphed into each other.

"There will be increased attempts at infiltration since groups now work more closely but we are prepared for any eventuality," said P Chidambaram, Union Home Minister.

Intelligence sources say Kashmir's local militant group, the Hizbul Mujahideen may have been coerced into supporting the Taliban since their leader Syed Salahuddin is based in Pakistan as the Taliban moves into major Pakistani cities, security agencies fear India will be their next target very soon.

A major infiltration attempt in Gurez on March 26 was possibly the Taliban's first attempt to infiltrate into the Valley.

As the snow melts in coming weeks, security agencies will have to be extra vigilant to prevent any more influx into the Kashmir Valley.

Security nightmare

On March 26, it was a routine infiltration bid that was intercepted by the Army in Gurez sector. One militant was believed to be killed and after week-long combing operation, the Army called off its operation.

But now what is turning out to be the worst security nightmare in Kashmir, the heavily armed group were Taliban and near 30 have managed to reach Loalb area in Kupwara district.
Senior police officials confirmed to NDTV that Taliban have infiltrated and their presence could pose a major security threat.

Sources say Gurez infiltration was the biggest infiltration attempt by Taliban and many more are waiting to infiltrate. Ironically, militant group Hizbul Mujahideen owned the responsibility for Gurez infiltration.

Sources say, the Taliban is being supported by a local militant group whose Pakistan based leader succumbed to Taliban pressure after he received threats of his elimination.

Curiously, the Lashkar-e-Toiba seems to be worried because of Taliban presence in Kashmir. The intercepts with security agencies suggest a section in LeT want to throw Taliban out and there are worst fears what Taliban can do if they gain some ground in Kashmir.

Here is the conversation between two LeT operatives.

Saad: You know, they are Taliban.
LeT operative: Ok, Taliban.
Saad: Yes, they are many more. A large number are behind these forests.
Saad: They will start from there and reach Srinagar.
LeT operative: They will finish it in one go.
Saad: Yes. They will kill Kashmiris and the Army.
LeT operative: Will they kill us also, Why?
Saad: You people are spying some of you.
LeT operative: Oh my God, am I also spying?
Saad: No No, some people here.

But for now the immediate challenge for security agencies is safety of Amarnath cave shrine. Last week Army airdropped its special forces after its surveillance helicopters spotted six armed men in the cave area.

Although nothing was found after searches, the Jammu and Kashmir police have now deployed its men for protection of Amarnath cave.

As the area is under heavy snow, sources say it's very difficult for the police to guard the cave area in extreme whether conditions.