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Taliban have entered Kashmir: Report

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Srinagar, India, April 7, IRNA -- According to reports quoting a top unnamed home ministry official, intelligence agencies have intercepted communications indicating that militants associated with Taliban have managed to enter Kashmir.

These reports appearing ahead of forthcoming parliamentary elections in the troubled state have put the security agencies on a tizzy.

According to a local news agency Kashmir News Service, the agencies had recorded communications between the Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba which also spoke of about 10 to 15 suspected operatives having crossed the frontier and hiding in the forests near the Line of Control (LoC).

According to the report appearing in local press here, the intelligence agencies have claimed that in the intercepted satellite phone communications, Taliban commanders in Pakistan are heard asking operatives who had crossed the LoC to return, but the latter were refusing to obey the orders.

The Inspector General of Kashmir Police, on the other hand, said that the police had no reports of the ingress of the Taliban.

In any case, the three-tier security wall near the Line of Control has been strengthened and the army has been given strict instructions to ensure that no foreign militant would gain access to the populated areas.

The army has sealed off the villages and the forests close to the LoC, and night curfew is in force in the frontier tracts. Thousands of army, paramilitary and police personnel have been deployed on operations to cordon and plug the forest areas.

Meanwhile troops resorted to heavy shelling in Kupwara forests on Monday morning during the ongoing military operations in the frontier belts.

A massive military operation is on in the forests close to the LoC in Kupwara following reports of infiltrating militants having taken shelter there, where a militant and two Indian soldiers were killed in fresh fighting on Sunday.

Searche operations in the rugged, wooded terrain that has been sealed off for several days now are on, though the operations were hampered by bad weather today.

The inspector general of police (IGP) of Kashmir, Dr. B Srinivasan, said that the number of militants present in the tract could not be determined at the moment, but the operation would intensify and an assessment would be made of the militants present once the weather is improved.

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