January 2000 News

Pak declares Hit, Kill, Run War

14 January 2000
The Asian Age
Seema Mustafa

NEW DELHI: Srinagar has become the specific target of terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir who are under clear directives to concentrate on the urban centres in the state and concentrate only on official and not civilian targets.

The terrorists, who have launched a well-planned offensive in Jammu and Kashmir, are trained in high-altitude warfare and have access to sophisticated arms.

The days of market place bomb blasts seem to be temporarily over with terrorist attacks focused on Army camps and security installations. Important persons and political party headquarters are also believed to be target zones.

Significantly, hit-and-run squads have been formed along the Line of Control at pickets manned by the Pakistan Army. Reports here suggest that a small group of about eight or more mercenaries have been attached to most of the from posts to launch "hit-and-run" operations into India with full logistic support from the Pakistan Army.

Security forces are released not just about the rise of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir but also the organised from it has taken since Kargil. The increasing frequency of terrorist strikes on Army and other installations has added to the pressure on the security personnel operating in the state. A decision has been taken not to waste time flushing out the terrorists from buildings and instead blow up the structure altogether along with those inside. Reports from the Valley suggest efforts to revive defunct militant groups like the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Al Baqr, Al Umar, Hezb-ul Mujahideen and others which were lying dormant. The release of terrorist Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar by the Vajpayee government in return for the passengers and crew of the hijacked Indian Airlines flight fits into the pattern. Zargar, who helped set up the JKLF, is well-versed in urban guerilla warfare and will be an asset in reviving this face of terrorism in the Valley.

Terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir had suffered a setback after the elections two years ago. Pakistan operations in the Valley had to rely entirely on mercenaries and the effort now is to again involve the local people in terrorist activities. Money is being quietly paid as compensation to Kashmiri families whose sons or fathers have died in terrorist-related violence through the militant groups. Money is also being paid to local organistaions for carrying out "successful" strikes.

Kashmiri youth are again being motivated to join the terrorist outfits, with many of them having "disappeared" over the last few months from their homes.

Security agencies fear an escalation of violence in and around Srinagar in the coming weeks. Nearly 2,000 terrorists are believed to have infiltrated into the state just before the others were detected on the Kargil heights. This is the first active winter in a decade with there being no let up in violence.


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