Pak Punjab terror groups bigger 'Frankensteins' than Taliban: Report

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Washington, Oct.21 (ANI): While the Pakistan Army has launched a major offensive in South Waziristan, the Taliban's stronghold, the recent spate of terror attacks across the Punjab province has raised concerns over the banned outfit's fast expanding network in the province bordering India.

It is feared that following the military's all out offensive in Waziristan, Punjabi Taliban will flee the tribal region and return to their home province, which would deteriorate the condition further in the country's most populous province.

"We have found through our intelligence sources that among the Pakistani Taliban the highest number is of Punjabi Taliban and obviously they would come under intense pressure from the security forces offensive forcing them to return to the Punjab," The Washington Times quoted a senior government official of South Waziristan, as saying.

Experts believe that several extremist leaders received military training in Punjab, home to the political and military elite, which has made them far more lethal than the ethnic Pashtun fighters, the report said.

Analysts believe that the Punjabi extremists, once nurtured by the state itself, have now grown into a Frankenstein and have joined hands with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda with the sole aim to spread the reign of terror and an intolerant strain of Islam in the country.

"They are more hard-line, more fundamentalist and more connected to a global agenda," said Imtiaz Ali, a fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington.

While Punjab governor, Salman Taseer has vehemently denied the presence of any terror training camps inside his province, there is specific information that banned terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group behind the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, have been operating in Punjab since long.

The LeT has a camp in Muridke near Lahore. There have also been reports of militant camps in Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan districts of Punjab, the report added.

An unheard Taliban group, 'Amjad Farooqi', claimed responsibility for the audacious terror attack on the Army General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and the attacks on three different security installations in Lahore, which clearly highlights the expanding network and the increasing clout of the Punjabi terror groups.

The expanding terror network in Punjab has caused concerns in India as well, it went on to add.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, has already announced that the Taliban would turn its focus on India once it creates 'an Islamic state in Pakistan." (ANI)

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