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India identifies terrorist training camps

camp
India says these images captured from video show terrorist training camps.  


By Satinder Bindra
CNN New Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- India has been working with the United States in the days following last week's hijacking attacks by sharing the locations of what it said are terrorist training camps.

Indian intelligence officials said that for more than a decade Islamic militants have been training in Afghanistan and Pakistan for a jihad, or holy war.

Sources told CNN that more than 120 camps are operating in the two countries. The camps are small, they are easy to move, and they can be difficult to track by satellite because of the region's rough terrain.

Some Indian defense officials predicted it could take a decade for the United States to root them all out.

India recently released videos shot in what it said were training camps operating in Pakistan.

The videos show men training with machine guns and heavy weapons. The men are shown practicing daring maneuvers, firing their weapons as they hang from ropes and run through obstacles.

In one case, the men are depicted using a picture of former U.S. President Bill Clinton for target practice.

It is not clear who financed the camp, but insignias and slogans visible on the video suggest it could have been operated by a group called Al-Badr.

Al-Badr has said it is not associated with Osama bin Laden, the alleged terrorist mastermind named as the prime suspect in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The group does share a similar ideology.

"Islam must rule the world and until Islam does rule the world we will continue to sacrifice our lives," Al-Badr spokesman Mustaq Aksari told CNN in an interview four months ago.

He said the group recruits fighters from around the world, including the United States.

Some of the men fought in the Afghan civil war or in the Islamic insurgency to end Indian rule in the state of Kashmir.

Former militant Liaqat Ali said he trained for six months at a similar camp in Afghanistan in the early 1990's. He said each day started and ended with prayers.

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"They used to tell us America is a devil for Islam and we need to crush America," Ali said. "You know to play with one's religious emotions and that's it. If you do that, you are there, you can do anything. It's a human bomb available."

Ali said he fought in the Afghan civil war in 1992 and then returned to Kashmir and joined the fight against Indian troops.

He surrendered in 1994 and has been collaborating with Indian authorities. He said he turned against his former partners because they were only spreading hate and terror.

"Killing 5,000, 6,000 people in America and we lost so many people, thousands of them in Kashmir," Ali said. "It's all disturbing."

India believes Pakistan has supported the rebels in the 12-year-old fight that has killed at least 35,000 people.

Pakistan has denied the accusations. In recent weeks Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has cracked down on religious and militant groups, ordering raids on some groups' offices and banning others completely.

Pakistan also has made it illegal to raise money in support of a jihad.

Ali said he believes the United States must strike the training camps if it hopes to win the war on terrorism.

"If you don't hit terrorist camps, if you don't control those countries which are harboring terrorists," Ali said, "you are going to have lots and lots of terrorists over the world."






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