Kashmiri Militant Group Will
Intensify War Against Indian Rule


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A Kashmiri militant group battling Indian rule in the Himalayan region vowed on Friday to step up guerrilla attacks on Indian forces, despite Islamabad's recent crackdown on extremist groups.
"The armed struggle will continue until the achievement of the objectives, and targeted attacks will be intensified," the Hizbul Mujahideen group said.
"Ours is a legitimate struggle based on international rules and the international community recognizes our demand for self-determination," the group said in a statement after its top leadership met in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-ruled Kashmir.
The meeting was chaired by the group's supreme commander Sayed Salahuddin, who is on a list of 20 men India wants Pakistan to hand over on suspicion of involvement in crimes carried out in India, including a December 13 attack on India's parliament.
New Delhi blames the attack on two Pakistan-based militant groups.
Under tremendous international pressure, Pakistan's military ruler General Pervez Musharraf outlawed five hard-line Islamic groups last month, including the two accused of plotting the Indian parliament attack.
Relations between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals have deteriorated sharply since December 13 with both sides massing about a million troops along their tense border in their biggest military standoff since 1971.
Hizbul Mujahideen's leaders said the banning of "a few groups" would not weaken the anti-India insurgency in Kashmir.
Indian forces have been battling about a dozen rebel groups in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Some of the groups are seeking independence, while others, including Hizbul Mujahideen, hope to see India's only Muslim majority state join Islamic Pakistan.
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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