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The Resistance Front: New name of terror groups in Kashmir

The Resistance Front, which has an active online presence and is perhaps being branded to attract international attention, is actively supported by Pakistan and consists of existing terror groups Hizbul Mujahidin, Jaish-e-Mohammad, LeT and Al-Badr, informed sources in the security establishment believe.

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2020, 07.20 AM IST
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Sources say that there is a clear imprint of the ISI in the rebranding effort and that it is a play out of the strategy adopted from Myanmar.
NEW DELHI: Newly formed ‘The Resistance Front’ (TRF) is like old wine in new bottle. This seems to have been created to give Pakistan deniability from action under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and is an amalgamation of existing terror groups operating in Kashmir, according to the assessment of the security establishment.

The TRF, which has an active online presence and is perhaps being branded to attract international attention, is actively supported by Pakistan and consists of existing terror groups Hizbul Mujahidin, Jaish-e-Mohammad, LeT and Al-Badr, informed sources in the security establishment believe.

A consensus forming within different agencies dealing with terror in Kashmir is that TRF’s creation was due to pressure being faced by Pakistan to comply with FATF regulations to cut off the funding of terrorist groups.

Sources said that a new strategy seems to have been put in place for supporting terror against India –– rebranding existing cadres of terror groups operating in Kashmir as a “non-religious” rebellion and using the Haqqani network and JeM cadres based in Afghanistan to target the Indian embassy, consulates and other targets.

The assessment is that both actions are designed to give the ISI more wriggle room within Pakistan that has been staring at a possible blacklisting at the FATF. Sources are also corelating the upswing in violence in the Valley to the Asia Pacific Group review meeting in China this January where Pakistan escaped further penal action.
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Sources say that there is a clear imprint of the ISI in the rebranding effort and that it is a play out of the strategy adopted from Myanmar.

“The word resistance could appeal to Western capitals, a strategy which was adopted in Myanmar by the ISI while promoting extremism among Rohingyas”, a source aware of developments said, adding that the goal perhaps is to garner the West’s support in the name of resistance and human rights.

Another security official said that the larger point appears to be the projection of terrorism as a resistance movement run by Kashmiris and described the TRF as more of an online projection project that would not necessarily change tactics on the ground. There is also a line of thought within the establishment that the JeM may still be out of the TRF umbrella.
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