Al-Badar eyes J&K again, plans revival

Cadres waiting for winter to cross border

Once a formidable terror organisation operating in Kashmir, Al-Badar, the sister outfit of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, is in a revival mode in the Valley.

Sources told Deccan Herald that in the past few months Al-Badar militants with the active support of Pakistani Army are conducting reconnaissance  along the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) to infiltrate through Uri and Kupwara sectors.

“The militants of the outfit are waiting on launching pads across the LoC and making desperate attempts to infiltrate before the onset of winter in Kashmir,” a source said.

Army sources revealed that Al-Badar militants were part of the recent major infiltration bid in Shalbatoo village of Keran sector in Kupwara district. “Some of them might have succeeded to infiltrate into the Valley,” the source added.

Al-Badar’s cadre fought Afghan war against Soviet troops alongside Gulabadeen Hikmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami in 1980s.

The cadres, who are mostly from Punjab province of Pakistan, were active in Kashmir in late 1990s and the early 21st century. But by 2008 they were depleted and the outfit has been defunct in the state for the past several years.

A senior police officer said Al-Badar militants were the first foreigners to come to Kashmir as early as in 1992.

“They were active in Sopore, Handwara and Bandipora areas of North Kashmir. Some of the Al-Badar’s commanders,  including Akbar Bhai, Ibn-e-Masood and Bambar Khan were acting as instructors for HM cadre,” he said.

It is believed that till Akbar Bhai and other Al-Badar militants who were embedded into terror network of HM were active in Sopore area, security forces had a tough time in dominating the area.

Since the outfit was banned by US State Department in 2005 for its Al-Qaeda links, the outfit faced shortage of resources and its influence in Kashmir waned.

Prior to that it had wreaked havoc in Kashmir in coordination with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. The outfit was responsible for wiping out counter-insurgent group Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen.

“The outfit is presently led by Bakht Zameen Khan who is an Afghan war veteran. The outfit is expert in using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs),” the officer said.

Sources revealed that in 2012 Al-Badar held a two-day recruitment rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan and sought resources and cadre for its Jammu and Kashmir chapter at a time when NATO forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan next year.

“Al-Badar is coordinating with Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan for generating resources for insurgency in Kashmir. They also raise donations for jihad not only from Pakistan, but also from Middle East, expatriate Kashmiris in Europe and USA,” said the source.

Zameen Khan had reportedly last year in his address said they are facing shortage of resources but vowed to launch attacks in Kashmir once they get the resources.  After its 2005 ban, the outfit faced shortage of resources.

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