India-Pakistan: August 31, 1999



A well known Kashmiri rebel leader, Ajau Raj Sharma, was captured in New Delhi along with 23 pounds of explosives, other bomb making materials and 200,000 rupees ($4,700).

August 30; Apparently an Indian patrol wandered across the Line of Control into Pakistani territory and fought a battle with Pakistani troops. Four Indians and three Pakistani soldiers were killed, and  two Indian soldiers captured. In another incident inside Indian Kashmir, nine Muslim rebels and two Indian commandos were killed when the Indians ambushed a rebel unit.

August 29; The Indian air force claims that the 600 combat sorties it flew during the May fighting in Kashmir were decisive. India lost two jets and one helicopter, but were eventually able to fly bombing missions day and night.

August 28; Several clashes in Kashmir left five Muslim rebels and one Indian soldier dead.

August 27; Pakistan is home to 4,500 Islamic seminaries known as madrasas. These vary from a few dozen to a few hundred students. Most of them are run by Islamic radicals; many by known terrorist groups. Most receive tax breaks, subsidies, and donations of land from the Pakistani government. Some receive money and weapons from ISI (Pakistani military intelligence). Years of religious-based high-school are coupled with basic military and weapons training. Upon graduation, the most fervent students move on to advanced schools in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir or in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. There, the students receive six intensive months of training that includes guerrilla operations, patrolling, anti-tank and other heavy weapons, and sabotage. Upon graduation, most move on to join Taliban combat units or radical guerrilla units in Kashmir. Veterans often rotate back to the schools as instructors or to take advanced courses of their own.--Stephen V Cole

August 26; ISLAMIC MERCENARY GROUPS IN KASHMIR: There are four main Islamic mercenary groups in Kashmir, each with only a few hundred warriors. Three of the groups (LET, HM, HUA) essentially overlap, operating in Kashmir Valley, Poonch, Doda, and Rajauri. The fourth (Al Badar) operates in Srinigar. 
-The LET (Army of the Pure) consists of 300 troops led by Zaikur Rehman Lakhvi. It is heavily supported by the ISI (Pakistani military intelligence). The group has an "awesome" reputation for ruthlessness and brutality, and regards democracy as an evil inherited from the British. 
-The HM (Hizbul Mujahideen) have at least 500 warriors (perhaps 800) led by Syed Salaluddin. Founded by the ISI, it was originally composed mostly of Kashmiris but as local recruits have dried up (or died off) it has become largely a foreign mercenary group. Once the dominant Moslem guerrilla group in Kashmir, it lost popular support in the mid-90s when it tried to impose Islamic dress codes on civilians.
-The HUA (Harkat-ul-Ansar) has about 350 troops led by Maulvi Siddique. The most professionally organized and equipped of the four, it is also the most closely tied to Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden and the Taliban group of Afghanistan. The troops have a reputation for tactical expertise and for modern weapons. It was this group which kidnapped and murdered five western tourists (four of whom have never been found) in 1995. 
-The Al Badar group was founded only last year. It has about 300 foreign mercenaries led by Lukmaan. It is reportedly recruiting mercenaries from the other groups with promises of better organization, training, and tactics.--Stephen V Cole

August 27; India released six Pakistani POWs captured during the May campaign in Kashmir. Meanwhile, Indian troops are rushing to build and provision bases high in the mountains before Winter sets in. Unlike in the past, the Indians expect to maintain these posts to be maintained year round.

August 25; Pakistan has blamed India for starting a new arms race in south Asia by embarking on a rearmament program. India's drive to upgrade its armaments came about because of deficiencies noted when Indian troops had to drive out Pakistani supported Muslim fundamentalists from the mountainous areas of Kashmir. Pakistan is much less able, financially, to match India's arms buildup.

August 24; Bangladeshi and Indian troops exchanged fire for three days on their border near a disputed village. No deaths were reported, but at least two local civilians were wounded. The dispute began when a river demarcating the border shifted course, as rivers often do, and left a village in a different country. This has happened before, and is usually settled peacefully. This time, however, the situation got out of hand. The Indians appear to have opened fire first.


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