It is either jail or Kashmir for Pak taliban | india | Hindustan Times
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It is either jail or Kashmir for Pak taliban

Sixty surrendered Taliban militants — battle hardened in Afghanistan fighting the US-led Nato forces — are waiting to cross into Jammu and Kashmir, a senior security officer said on Tuesday. Aloke Tikku reports.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2009 00:48 IST
Aloke Tikku

Sixty surrendered Taliban militants — battle hardened in Afghanistan fighting the US-led Nato forces — are waiting to cross into Jammu and Kashmir, a senior security officer said on Tuesday.

“They were given a choice. Either they go to jail, or go to Kashmir to continue their jihad. They chose to go to Kashmir and are waiting to cross over,” the officer, who requested anonymity, said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had last week spoken of his worries of running out of space in jails to house the Taliban fighters. Gilani told Pakistan Senate that military operation along the Afghan border had forced 3,000 Taliban fighters to surrender and 2,000 more were expected to lay down arms, local media reported.

Senior home ministry officials said the Pakistani push for the Taliban was reflective of Islamabad’s lack of seriousness in fulfilling its commitment to dismantle terrorist infrastructure.

Another indicator, an official said, were instances of Pakistan army choppers airlifting militants injured in gunfights with the Indian troops.

The official said the intelligence — gathered from intercepts — had been made available to the border guards in J&K. “The forces have since been on high alert.”

The saving grace, for now, is the security establishment’s understanding that none of the 60 fighters, which include Afghan nationals, has been able to cross over. But the next four weeks will be crucial, said a government official.

“It will be much more difficult to cross once it begins to snow,” he explained.

According to intelligence agencies, the Taliban are holding up in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and intend to cross into north Kashmir.