India hands videos, maps, transcripts on Taliban, Pakistan to U.S. in attacks probe
NEW DELHI, India (AP) – Maps, phone transcripts, video and photographs – including one of former President Clinton that was used for target practice – show how Islamic militant leaders run training camps across Pakistan and in southern Afghanistan, India says.
India has given FBI investigators documents from its store of intelligence on suspected terrorist camps, a collection culled over four years, officials said Sunday.
President Bush has threatened retaliation against the terrorists behind the attacks on New York and Washington, as well as those who harbor them.
A top Indian intelligence official told The Associated Press the secret documents were evidence that Islamic militants – including Osama bin Laden, the main suspect in the U.S. attacks – finance guerrilla groups and training camps.
Video clips show members of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and other groups firing at enlarged photographs of Clinton during shooting practice, the intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.
Lashkar-e-Tayyaba is among a dozen Islamic guerrilla groups – most based in Pakistan – that are fighting to free the Himalayan region of Kashmir from India. Since gaining independence in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought three wars, two of them over the mostly Muslim region divided between them.
The training camps India pinpointed for U.S. investigators are located in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, in the Pakistani hinterland of Punjab and Baluchistan, and in provinces on the Afghanistan frontier, the intelligence official said.
The camps within Afghanistan are in Khost and the historic southern city of Kandahar, according to interrogation reports of arrested militants who said they were trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Intelligence officials said there are now fewer than 120 training camps and that they shift, especially when there is a focus upon them. For this reason, the Indian officials said, satellite tracking is not as useful as ”human intelligence,” which India also offered.
Pakistan denies supporting terrorism, and said it would cooperate with the U.S. effort to find the perpetrators of last week’s attacks.
Pakistan’s government calls Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and other groups based in Pakistan and fighting in Kashmir ”freedom fighters,” not terrorists. Pakistan supports their cause but gives them no material aid, the government says.
India also has accused the Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, another Pakistan-based militant group, of abducting six foreign tourists in Kashmir in 1995 and carrying out the Christmas Eve hijacking of an Indian Airlines jetliner in 1999.
While investigating the hijacking, Indian officials gained a lot of information about the militant groups and bin Laden’s connection to them, a senior Indian security official said. The official called Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen a member of bin Laden’s international front for jihad – holy war – against Christians and Jews.
The evidence provided to the American investigators includes transcripts of conversations between militant groups; descriptions and locations of training camps; and photographs and video footage of training camps, intelligence officials said.
Washington had not yet approached New Delhi for permission to use Indian airspace or refueling facilities in the case of airstrikes on Afghanistan, the senior intelligence official. But both sides are in close contact, he said.
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