When Jaish’s Training Camp In Balakot Found A Mention In US Files Fifteen Years Ago
Representative image. (Photo credit: Pixabay)
Balakot has found yet another important mention with respect to India-Pakistan ties as the terror camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). The Maulana Yusuf Azar run camp got “destroyed” by the Indian Air Force today.
New Delhi: India on Tuesday announced that its airforce had destroyed the largest training camp set up by terror organization Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot in Pakistan. “In an intelligence led operation in the early hours of today, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated. This facility at Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar (alias Ustad Ghouri), the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, chief of JeM,” said foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale.
Interestingly, a document by the United States Department of Defence dated 31st January, 2004, talks about the detention of a certain Pakistani national, Hafez K Rahman. The document, which was a secret file eventually released by Wikileaks, said that Rahman was born in Gurjar in Pakistan on February 20, 1984.
The document, signed by Geoffrey D Miller, then a commanding major general of the US Army, details the reasons for Rahman’s continued detention, stating that he had admitted to volunteering to fight Jihad against the US and its allies, remaining after the events of September 11 to continue fight and receiving training from the JeM. “Detainee received training in Balakot, PK, a location known to house a training camp that offers both basic and advanced terrorist training on explosives and artillery. Detainee is a probable member of the JEM and as such, if released would likely gravitate back to that Islamic extremist group,” the file reads. It also further says that JeM espouses jihad against the US and is directly supported by Al-Qaida and that “detainee has state while in detention that he would return to jihad if given an opportunity.
Now, fifteen years later, Balakot has found yet another important mention with respect to India-Pakistan ties. The terror camp of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot, which got “destroyed” by the Indian Air Force on early Tuesday morning, was being run by Masood Azhar's brother-in-law Maulana Yusuf Azar, the Ministry of External Affairs said. Yusuf Azar had been at the heart of IC 814 hijack planning nearly two decades ago that freed the Masood, the chief of the terror outfit.
Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale argued that the air strikes were a “nonmilitary pre-emptive action” taken in a manner to “avoid civilian casualties”. He added that a number of JeM terrorists, trainers and senior commanders were killed in the air strike. This, he claimed, was the largest JeM camp in Balakot and was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, the brother-in-law of Masood and a Pakistani national.