The ISI commenced training of Kashmiris in the Afghan camps from 1983. A part of funding from US and Saudi Arabia was quietly diverted to the financing of the training and upkeep of Kashmiris.
However, it is the asymmetric proxy war of Pakistan against India, orchestrated by the ISI, which is acquiring dangerous proportions. The objectives of the ISI are synchronous with those of the military leadership i.e. to destabilise and destroy India. The ISI has gone about it in a methodical manner. It has identified the fault lines of India and is seeking to aggravate them. The war in Afghanistan created opportunities galore for them.
The Durand Line which marks an international border through the heart of the Pakistani tribal territory had strained relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan since the latter’s inception in 1947. The Pakistani Intelligence apparatus had, therefore, maintained close links with the Afghan Pashtuns. When Soviet troops entered Afghanistan, Pakistan, aided by US and Saudi Arabia, supported the Afghan Mujahidin. Thus commenced the jihad in Afghanistan with the Pakistani ISI in the lead, and exercising exclusive control on the flow of arms and finances received from US and Saudi Arabia for the Mujahidin. It has been estimated that 80000 to 90000 trainees had been imparted skills in terror warfare at these camps by the time the Soviets moved out of the country.
The Pakistani military leadership was quick to recognise the potential of these cadres for unleashing an insurgency in Kashmir. The ISI, already in charge of the Afghan operations, was instructed to do the ground work for Kashmir. The ISI commenced training of Kashmiris in the Afghan camps from 1983. A part of funding from US and Saudi Arabia was quietly diverted to the financing of the training and upkeep of Kashmiris.
It must be noted that operations in Kashmir were perceived as another jihad, distinct from the one already in underway in Afghanistan, but one that was part of a global Islamic jihad which incorporated in it other agendas as well. The concept of a global Islamic jihad had been articulated by the Palestinian ideologue AbdullahYusuf Mustapha Azzam who had set up an institution in Peshawar and had become the mentor of Osama bin Laden after the latter moved there from Sudan in 1996. Azzam’s pan islamic approach drew Muslims from diverse countries to Afghanistan to join in the struggle against the Soviets. Azzam also became the inspiration for establishing the Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad, MDI, in Muridke, for transferring training, management, and propaganda and indoctrination techniques, gleaned from Afghanistan to the J&K theatre. The ISI had a direct role in all this and was soon training MDI volunteers in its camps. A military wing Lashkar-e-Taiba, (LeT) was also added to MDI. Azzam’s call for a pan islamic struggle was instrumental in the Pak military leadership later promoting the view that they could be in the vanguard of any such movement. Many terrorists, being trained in ISI camps, were, therefore, encouraged to operate in various other trouble spots such as Chechen, Dagestan, Bosnia, Xinjiang, and peaceful areas such as Bali, Spain, UK etc.