Not ruling out Pakistan Army’s support to terrorists involved in Kupwara encounter in Jammu and Kashmir, Army chief General Deepak Kapoor on Wednesday said Lashkar-e-Toiba was still active in Pakistan despite the action that Islamabad claims to have taken against the outfit.
He said that about 40 to 50 terror camps were operational across the Line of Control (LOC) and terrorists are waiting for an opportunity to infiltrate. “The fact that there are camps on the other side obviously indicate that the possibility of involvement (of Pakistan Army) cannot be ruled out,” Kapoor told reporters on the sidelines of a reception to gallantry and service medal winners.
The Army chief was responding when asked if the terrorists, who were engaged in a five-day battle with the Army troops in the forests of Kupwara and Handwara had Pakistan Army’s assistance. Asked if the arrest of senior LeT operatives by Pakistan had any impact on its activities, Kapoor said the terrorist outfit was still “very much active”.
“I can definitely say that Lashkar is very much still active and as to the amount of difference those arrests have made, its for you all to judge and see for yourselves,” he said. He added that there was still a very large component of foreign militants operating in the border state.
The Army chief said about 40 to 50 terror camps were operational on the other side of LoC in Pakistan, which kept shifting their locations.
"I would hazard a guess ... Anywhere between 40-50 (terror camps). And they keep shifting because they purely don't wish to be at one particular location," he said.
He added that more terrorists were waiting to infiltrate once the conditions get conducive for crossing over. On the highly sophisticated communication equipment used by terrorists during the encounter, the Army chief said, "Obviously they were contacting their handlers on the other side with these equipment."
He added that the terrorists had received a fairly high level of training, which was obvious after the Mumbai terror attacks.
Asked why it took so long for the Army to eliminate the terrorists in Kupwara, he said, "in such a terrain where still there is snow, passes are still closed and reaching outlying areas is difficult, we have killed 17 terrorists and we have recovered 23 AK-47 rifles and six GPS, which indicate that they came in fully prepared. That is why our troops are deployed there in three tiers to stop such infiltration."