An intelligence note accessed by TOI suggests a new outfit, “Lashkar-e-Khalsa”, has been formed by the K2 (Kashmir-Khalistan) desk of ISI, which is aggressively attempting to recruit youths on social media.
The agencies started digging deeper after they stumbled upon an ID in the name of “Amar Khalistani” that was running Facebook pages like “Azad Kashmir & Khalistan” to influence youths.
Their plan seems to be to use the cadres interchangeably and train the recruits by Afghan-origin handlers, the intel suggests. The ISI has been trying aggressively to bridge the gap between Kashmiri groups and Punjabbased extremists and using both their networks to its advantage.
ISI, through its “K2 desk”, has also been funding the targeted killings of right-wing leaders and opponents of terrorism by using gangsters in a hope to revive militancy, the intel suggests.
This project was started in 2016, with specific goals regarding recruitment and targets. Officials in the intelligence establishment said the initial players chosen to head onground operations were Pakistan-based Khalistan radicals Harmeet Singh, alias “PhD”, the Khalistan Liberation Force chief murdered in Pakistan in February last year, and Lakhbir Singh, alias Rode, the chief of KZF (Khalistan Zindabad Force).