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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Taleban 'recalling Kashmir militants'
Islamic militants training in Pakistani territory near Afghan border
India believes hundreds of Afghans are fighting in Kashmir
India says the Taleban are calling on Afghan fighters in Kashmir to return to their homeland ahead of a possible US military strike.


It is our information based on the intelligence resources of India

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh
India's Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh told a news conference the call had been issued by Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Mr Singh said he had received "several intelligence reports" about the recall of fighters, but declined to elaborate.

"It is our information based on the intelligence resources of India," he said.

Thousands of fighters

Authorities in Delhi say thousands of Afghans are fighting alongside separatist guerrillas in Indian-administered Kashmir.

General Pervez Musharraf
Kashmir separatists have expressed support for General Musharraf
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the insurgents, but Islamabad has always denied the charge.

Meanwhile, Kashmir's main separatist alliance expressed its backing for Pakistan's decision to support Washington following last week's terror attacks.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf went on national television on Wednesday to explain his position.

Unequivocal support

As momentum grows for a retaliatory strike on Afghanistan, the All Party Hurriyat Conference was unequivocal in its support.

"We unanimously support the realistic, bold and forthright stand taken by President Musharraf," Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat told reporters.

Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat
The Hurriyat has called on Kashmiris to ignore protest strike
The alliance has also urged Kashmiris to ignore a general strike call on Friday issued by four radical Muslim groups.

Correspondents say India is now watching the unfolding relationship between its long-time foe, Pakistan, and the United States with considerable anxiety,

Delhi is concerned that if Islamabad takes a pivotal support role in action against Afghanistan, little will be done to tackle what India says is Pakistani backing for Kashmiri militants.

The Kashmir dispute lies at the heart of differences between the two neighbours, with a recent summit ending with little signs of progress.

Nevertheless, Mr Singh said it was a welcome development that Pakistan had now come face to face with what he called the terrorists it had spawned - namely the Taleban.

Mr Singh said time would tell whether Pakistan would convert statements into action.

But he was very glad that Islamabad had become the latest entrant into the battle against terrorism.

See also:

20 Sep 01 | South Asia
India angered by Musharraf 'tirade'
20 Sep 01 | South Asia
Indian Muslims oppose US action
19 Sep 01 | Media reports
Text: Musharraf rallies Pakistan
19 Sep 01 | South Asia
Pakistan warns of 'destruction'
17 Sep 01 | South Asia
On edge: Afghanistan's neighbours
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Analysis: Pakistan's tough choice
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