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ISI pushing Taliban into Kashmir: IB

By Vicky Nanjappa
Last updated on: October 07, 2009 14:18 IST
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India has a new headache on hand: Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directing the Taliban to join them in their Kashmir battle. According to reports with the Intelligence Bureau, the fight for Kashmir will get even more intense with the Taliban agreeing to join the ISI in this fight.

IB sources told that the Taliban leadership was reluctant to fight Indian forces in Kashmir since they were more interested in continuing their war against the American forces.

IB sources said the decision to push the Taliban into Kashmir was taken since the core groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba were regrouping. There is a constant watch on the movements of the Lashkar since the Mumbai attack and they were finding it difficult to infiltrate.

The ISI's directive to the Lashkar is to focus on other parts of India and hence it wanted to rope in the Taliban to continue to the Kashmir battle.

This decision was, however, not initially acceptable to the Taliban who have an understanding with the Lashkar that Kashmir is the latter's battle. Moreover, the Taliban was more interested in continuing its war against the United States' troops and Pakistan soldiers who are being backed by the US.

IB reports state that there are around 60 Taliban fighters who are waiting to cross over into India. These soldiers were at first captured by the Pakistan forces and then told to fight in Kashmir. The incentive that was given to the Taliban fighters was either to languish in jail or fight in Kashmir and the Taliban opted for the latter.

In the first phase, the ISI plans to send in 60 fighters into Kashmir to fight the Indian security agencies. As part of the strategy, the Taliban fighters would lead the remaining 200 jihadis from different groups into Kashmir. They have been briefed about the entire operation and have also been provided with state-of-the-art equipment to fight the war. Satellite phones, sophisticated weapons and high-end mobile phones with Indian numbers are part of the package.

The infiltration into Indian soil would however take place in phases, according to the IB. Although they may try sneaking a couple of jihadis immediately, the major chunk of the infiltration would take place during the peak winter, when security forces are less alert. The Border Security Force has been tipped off about this development and asked to keep a constant vigil on the boundaries so that no movement of jihadis takes place from across the Pakistan border.

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru