Sajjad Ahmed, the Pakistani terrorist caught yesterday, had been tasked to set up a base for Lashkar-e-Taiba in Rafiabad, some 76 kms from here, and curb the influence of local militant Qayyum Najjar, who has defected from Hizbul Mujahideen to form his own group.
Officials interrogating Ahmed said he had joined LeT in 2012 and had made two attempts earlier to enter the Kashmir Valley from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) but failed because of heavy deployment of the Army.
Ahmed, who has studied till 4th standard, told his interrogators that he was a Baloch settled in Muzzafargarh of Punjab province in South West Pakistan, the officials said.
The terrorist, who was captured after a two-day operation in which his four associates were killed, had also worked with Jamaat-ul-Dawa, which is headed by Hafiz Saeed, the chief of LeT and mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attacks, the officials said.
Ahmed, aged 22, has undergone all the three kinds of training in terrorism — ‘Daura-e-Aam’, ‘Daura-e-Khas’ and ‘Daura-e-Sufa’, they said.
In Daura-e-Aam, the cadres of the terror outfit are given basic training in small arms and grenade-throwing for 21 days which is followed by a three-month specialised training, known as Daura-e-Khas in which they are taught handling of AK riles, rocket launchers, making of Improvised Explosive Devices and LMGs.
The third kind of training, known as Daura-e-Sufa, involves motivating and brainwashing youth for terror acts.
Ahmed is believed to have said that the main objective of sending him and others here was to enable LeT re-establish its base in Rafiabad area in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
LeT’s influence in Rafiabad has seen a decline since Najjar’s rift with Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and formed his own dissident group sometime back.
Ahmed said he had been recalled recently from his home to cross over into Kashmir and was given a task for undermining the influence of Najjar, who is a local resident of Sopore and allegedly involved in killing of five people in May and June this year besides carrying out blasts at the telecom towers.
If Ahmed’s statement is to be believed, then it indicates that Salahuddin has joined hands with LeT in targeting Najjar, who has been fighting a bitter battle with Hizb chief and refused to follow his diktats.