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Afghanistan: camps in Nangahar
  • Afghan training JeM
    Afghan training JeM
“First we take Manhattan” was singing years ago Leonard Cohen. First they took Kabul then the next one, according to the buzzing in the area, is going to be J&K. I'm talking of Taliban and Jaish-e-Mohammed, of course. And, above all, of their puppetteer: Pakistani ISI. In the past year or so, JeM, trough its ISI handlers, has maintained close ties with the Afghan Taliban, and has been providing them with a continuous stream of Pakistani recruits from the provinces of South Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. The JeM’s training camps, including the one at Balakot, have supplied a sizeable number of battle-hardened fighters that have aided the ground successes of the Afghan Taliban. Further, the JeM has also provided suicide bombers to the Taliban and the Haqqani Network for executing attacks in Afghanistan. Now, according to local sources, the province of Nangahar, in Afghanistan, has practically been handled by Taliban to JeM. There's a number of training camps in the area. Some are under the direct control of Taliban and they accomodate only small groups of JeM members, while other camps, called Mustaquir Camps, are used exclusively by JeM. Earlier these camps were used for imparting training to Haqqani and Taliban cadres, and they've been later handed over to JeM members in lieu of the training facilities provided by JeM to Haqqani fighters in Pakistan. JeM cadres have been shifted to Nangahar, on ISI istructions, from Khyber Agency and from Pan Chinar, on the Pakistan-Afghan border. Since then, new recruits and fresh trainees are brought on regular bases to these camps from various districts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The expenditure of these camps, including manteinance, logistics and salary for instructors are borne by JeM. A number of training camps is located in the Khogyani district: the camps are located in the proximity of villages or anyway were civilians live, and have all kind of the facilities required: hostels for trainees, grounds, masjid, classrooms and residences for instructors. In charges and cadres of JeM are instead accomodate in separate camps and share the locations with senior functionaires in the civilian areas. The training schedule in the camps includes physical training, classroom lessons, dismantling and mantling of weapons, handling of arms and ammunition. The firing practice is however done away from the camp due to the close proximity to civilian locations. Eyewitness have seen a range of AK47, LMG, rocket launchers, granades, explovises and whatlese being used for trining. The trainees are also given jungle survival training in Kunar Jungle, near Nuristan border. JeM cadres trained at camps in Nangahar are being regularly infiltrated into J&K for terrorists operations. The attack on Sunjuwan Army camp in Jammu in February 2018 was conducted by 3 pakistani cadres trained at Khogyani camp. A number of these trained cadres are active in J&K. There's in fact a specific training schedule for fidayeens deployed in Kashmir: beside the 'ordinary' teachings, the trainee are also given a 10 days special capsule module which includes storming into army camps, camouflage, concealment, survival tecniques and fabrication of IEDs. Plus 20 days of firing practices and inflitration techniques into replicas of areas like Neelam, Sharda, Kotli etc. Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar Kashmiri, brother of Masood Azhar, is in charge of the Nangahar camps. The same fellow, just to be clear, who supervised Balakot Camp and who's been in charge of actively recruiting fidayeen cadres for the past year at least. Asghar, despite being at a point placed officially under protective custody, has been seen holding multiple meetings with ISI operatives. In particular, few months ago, Asghar accompanied to Islamabad his brother Masood Azhar to meet their ISI patrons. To discuss, according to sources, the role of JeM in the incoming months. The same sources mantain that, during the meeting, there were few differences on the issue. ISI was giving very clear directions to Azhar and his associates: they should have supported Taliban during the first months, focussing on Afghanistan more than on Kashmir. However Ashgar insisted that the group could easily do both and focusing on Kashmir as well as in supporting Taliban. The ISI line of course prevailed, and JeM, along with LeT, was put on the job of raising funds for the Taliban and to facilitate the movements of jihadi (including Al Qaida members) from Pakistan to Afghanistan. The rest is history. Taliban took Afghanistan and Masood Azhar, few days after Kabul's fall, rushed to Kandahar to meet with Taliban leaders, in order to coordinate joint operations between the two groups. During the meeting, Azhar was strongly advocating the need for the two groups to focus on the jihad in Kashmir instead of pursuing political objectives. So, is just a matter of time. First we take Manhattan, J&K will follow. America is gone, terrorists groups can act and train undisturbed and finally ISI can focus on the next ground.
Francesca Marino