'Al Qaeda outsourced terror network'

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Udhampur, Sep 15: Not ruling out the presence of al-Qaeda in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army today said the global terror outfit seemed to have outsourced its radical missions to other 'Jehadi' groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in South Asia.

''We can not say it (al-Qaeda) is not there (in Jammu and Kashmir), but we have not come across any hardcore al Qaeda operative,'' said Northern Command GOC-in-C Lt Gen H S Panag.

The Commander, however, said there was no let up in Pakistan's attitude towards promoting militancy as it was still facilitating infiltration in the valley.

Around 45 per cent of total 1,200 to 1,500 militants operating in the state were foreign nationals, which included a majority from Pakistan, he noted.

''Despite cease fire being maintained on the Line of Control, it (Pakistan) is still supporting militancy,'' Lt Gen Panag said.

Quoting intelligence inputs, he said, ''Fifty-two militants' training camps are still operational across the border, out of which, 29 to 30 are in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.'' Elaborating on the militancy activities on Pakistani side, Lt Gen Panag said about 5,000 odd militants, including some ''misguided'' youths of Jammu and Kashmir, were waiting to intrude into the Indian side.

However, since 2003, a continuous downfall in militancy has been registered, the GOC-in-C said.

The Army was continuing with its people-friendly counter-insurgency operations, he said.

''Out of 3.7 lakh troops, only 75,000 are engaged in counter insurgency operations, including that of Rashtriya Rifles.

''It is the minimum required soldier strength to fight militancy and man border in the state, as 35 per cent of this always remain on leave or other courses,'' Lt. Gen. Panag added.

UNI

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