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Insider bares Pak Kargil skeleton

Islamabad, Jan. 27 (PTI): The Kargil war did not involve mujahideen, as Islamabad has long claimed, but regular Pakistani army soldiers, a former ISI officer has said and suggested the 1999 conflict was meaningless.

Lt Gen. (retd) Shahid Aziz, who once headed the ISI’s analysis wing, also accused then Pakistan army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf of a “cover-up”.

“There were no mujahideen, only taped wireless messages which fooled no one. Our soldiers were made to occupy barren ridges, with hand-held weapons and ammunition,” Aziz wrote in The Nation earlier this month.

The article by the officer, who retired in 2005, was titled “Putting our children in line of fire”. “The whole truth about Kargil is yet to be known. We await the stories of forgotten starved soldiers hiding behind cold desolate rocks, with empty guns still held in their hands. Such precious blood spilled without cause!”

He said whatever little he knew, took a while to emerge “since General Musharraf had put a tight lid on Kargil”.

Kargil, an “unsound military plan” based on invalid assumptions, was bound to fail, he said.

“That may well have been the reason for its secrecy. It was a total disaster,” he said and underlined that soldiers were sent as “war fodder”.

Pakistan has always maintained that Kargil was fought by mujahideen. Aziz said the intrusion was clearly intended to dominate the supply line to Siachen and “force the Indians to pull out”. “It certainly wasn’t a defensive manoeuvre. There were no indications of an Indian attack. We didn’t pre-empt anything; nothing was on the cards.”

Aziz said assumptions were made that the Indian Army would not be able to “dislodge us and the world would sit back idly”. “The entire planning and execution was done in a cavalier manner, in total disregard of military convention.”

He added: “We continue to indulge in bloody enterprises, under the hoax of safeguarding national interest.”