Indian troops kill 3 senior Kashmiri militants

Police say Lelhari became the operations chief of Ansar Ghawzat-ul-Hind, an affiliate of the Al-Qaeda militant group, after Indian troops killed a top militant, Zakir Musa, last year. (File/AFP)
Updated 23 October 2019

Indian troops kill 3 senior Kashmiri militants

  • Thousands of people participated in three separate funerals for the killed militants in their native villages
  • Indian forces suffered no casualties or injuries in the fighting

SRINAGAR: Indian forces have killed a top militant commander and his two associates in a counterinsurgency operation in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said Wednesday.

Hamid Lelhari and his associates were killed Tuesday evening in a gunfight that erupted after Indian security forces launched a counterinsurgency operation in southern Awantipora area, said Dilbagh Singh, chief of police in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Police say Lelhari became the operations chief of Ansar Ghawzat-ul-Hind, an affiliate of the Al-Qaeda militant group, after Indian troops killed a top militant, Zakir Musa, last year.

Singh said the group has been wiped out in Kashmir with Tuesday’s killings.

Indian forces suffered no casualties or injuries in the fighting, he said.

On Wednesday, thousands of people participated in three separate funerals for the killed militants in their native villages.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, but claimed by both in entirety. Rebels groups have been fighting in Kashmir since 1989.

They have repeatedly rejected the presence of outside groups, including Al-Qaeda.

In mid-2017, an Al-Qaeda-linked propaganda network said Musa joined its affiliate group after he quit Kashmir’s largest rebel group, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.

Musa regularly issued audio messages that mainly stressed that Kashmiris’ struggle was for an Islamic cause and had nothing to do with nationalism. This highlighted a shift in ideology among some rebel groups that have mainly fought for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with Pakistan.

New Delhi-based television channels used him to showcase that Kashmir’s struggle was part of a global militant agenda. Previously, no global insurgent groups had openly operated in Kashmir.

India accuses Pakistan of supporting militancy in Kashmir. Pakistan rejects the charge and says it provides only moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris.


Afghans honor Japanese aid worker killed in ambush

Updated 58 min 4 sec ago

Afghans honor Japanese aid worker killed in ambush

  • On Saturday, in a memorial ceremony after accompanying the body to Kabul airport, Ghani called Nakamura a hero
  • “Nakamura was a great personality who dedicated his life to the goodness and strengthening of Afghanistan’s deprived people,” Ghani said

KABUL: A 73-year-old Japanese aid worker killed in an ambush outside Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan has been described as a “hero” by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Testu Nakamura and five fellow aid workers died when gunmen attacked their car on Wednesday.
Tributes to the popular aid worker continued to pour in on Saturday with candlelight vigils held in different areas of the country. Schools erected posters of the aid worker while the national airline displayed images of him on its aircraft. 
“The level of grief and respect expressed by Afghans show how much people loved him. None of our current leaders would receive so much respect and attention should any of them die like this Japanese aid worker,” Rasoul Dad, a civil servant, told Arab News on Saturday.
Nakamura’s wife, daughter and three of his colleagues, including a childhood friend, arrived in Kabul on Friday as the Afghan government prepared to return his body to Japan.
The Afghan leader met them at the presidential palace and described Nakamura as a “hardworking personality.”
On Saturday, in a memorial ceremony after accompanying the body to Kabul airport, Ghani called Nakamura a hero.
“Nakamura was a great personality who dedicated his life to the goodness and strengthening of Afghanistan’s deprived people,” Ghani said.
The Afghan national flag was placed on Nakamura’s coffin as his family, accompanied by Japanese Ambassador Mitsuji Suzuka, left for Japan.
Nakamura, who spent more than half his life helping Afghan refugees as a doctor in Peshawar and later worked on several projects in the country, has become a national hero for many Afghans.
He was granted honorary citizenship several years ago after deciding to remain in the country despite the attempted abduction and murder of one of his colleagues.