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Pak using top Lashkar men to fight Taliban

Commanders in charge of J&K sent to set up village groups backed by Pak Army...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
September 26, 2009 4:45:45 am

One reason why Pakistan doesn’t appear to be sincere in its action against Lashkar-e-Toiba founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Sayeed is slowly emerging.

It’s been learnt here that some of the LeT’s top commanders, spearheading its violent campaign in India,have now joined the Pak Army’s campaign against the Taliban.

Sources said they have been moved from Punjab in Pakistan to set up and lead Army-sponsored armed “village defence committees” in the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP).

Sources said LeT commanders Sad Baba,Asad Khan,Bilal,Gazi Sultan and Huzefa have moved to NWFP where the Pak Army is encouraging local tribesmen and their elders to form armed groups to fight the Taliban.

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Local tribesmen are said to have told the Pak Army not to deploy its forces because their presence helps build support for the Taliban. Hence,the committees.

This anti-Taliban resistance has a parallel with the “Sunni awakening” in Iraq,where tribesmen took on al-Qaeda militants in Anbar province and elsewhere.

The village defence groups rely on tribal customs and widespread ownership of guns to raise traditional private armies — interestingly,these are also called Lashkars — each with hundreds of volunteers from local tribes.

These armies,launched last autumn,are not aimed at preventing individual acts of terrorism — suicide bombings etc — but to create a local defence system that prevents the Taliban from setting up an “extremist mini-state” in the lawless north-west.

Such Lashkars have already been established in Bajaur,Dir and Buner in NWFP.

The biggest anti-Taliban Lashkar had been set up by Sulthankeil tribe in Khall town with 10,000 local recruits who came along with their weapons.

Sources reveal that the LeT’s support for setting up and leading these tribal groups has two main reasons. One,the LeT belongs to a different ideological sect,theologically opposed to the Taliban and an armed rebellion against the Pak army.

Two,LeT’s commanders are experienced in guerilla warfare and most of them have been operating in Kashmir or directing terror acts in various cities across India.

Security agencies monitoring Lashkar operations have found that the geographical location of many of these LeT commanders is being concealed via “spoofing” of their satphones.

“When a satellite phone is spoofed,it means its Lat (latitude)-Long (Longitude) is misrepresented by highly sophisticated sensors thus preventing surveillance,” a senior official told The Indian Express.

The official alleged that there were instances where the service provider was “giving inaccurate information.”

“We worked on two numbers,one belonging to an LeT commander and another used by a Hizbul man. Both were spoofed and in both cases we knew the actual location of the users. The service provider gave us the correct information about the Hizbul man while it misled us on information about the phone used by the LeT.”

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