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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

India Accuses Afghans

PAHALGAM, India () -- Eighteen of the 20 kidnappers holding the five Westerners hostage in Kashmir are mercenaries from Afghanistan, an Indian official said Thursday.

Two weeks ago, the little-known Al-Faran Kashmiri separatist group kidnapped five Western tourists: Donald Hutchings, 42, of Spokane, Washington; Paul Wells, 23, of London; Keith Mangan, 33, of Middlesbrough, England; Dirk Hasert, 26, of Erfert and Hans Christian Ostro, 27, of Oslo, Norway.

After Afghan forces drove the Soviet military out of their Moslem country in 1990, some Afghan fighters joined the Kashmiri secessionist campaign in northern India in the early 1990, which they regard as a jihad, or Islamic holy war.