Hot pursuit policy against J&K militants
2 December 2001
The Times of India
M SALEEM PANDIT TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SRINAGAR: Given the sharp increase in militant activities in J&K after the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the security forces have adopted a hot pursuit policy to flush out militants hiding in the deep jungles of the state, particularly in the north-western region of the Valley. The security forces have proposed to use gunship helicopters to target the training camps established deep in the Kupwara jungles. The strikes would, moreover, deter the ingression of 5,000 Taliban militants waiting to cross over to J&K from PoK, a senior Army official told Times News Network. The forces, it is learnt, have cordoned the hilly areas of Sogam, Lolab in the border district of Kupwara in north Kashmir. Seven hideouts of militants were destroyed in strikes in the last few days. Many more such strikes would destroy the training camps established deep in the forests of Kupwara and Baramulla districts, according to reports. Security forces have decided to launch search operations in the higher reaches of Pakherpora and Charar-e-Sharief in central Kashmir as well. Combing operations will also be undertaken in Kikar and Shopian in Pulwama district in south Kashmir, the sources said. The forces even propose to flush out militants from the higher reaches of the Pir Panchal mountains. The militants have caused great damage to the security forces in the last two weeks on the 300-km Srinagar- Jammu national highway. Twenty-five soldiers and a few civilians were killed on the highway last week. Meanwhile, security has further been tightened along the LoC in north Kashmir with the reported change of stance of Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan military ruler, regarding discouraging the jehadi groups from recruiting volunteers and closure of training camps in PoK due to the change in the Afghanistan situation. Foreign militants consider the Kashmir Valley to be a safe heaven due to the difficult terrain and high altitude mountains and the authorities here believe that they would try to sneak into J&K. Even though Musharraf has expressed his support to the militants in J&K, he has also desired that no madrassa in PoK be allowed to impart arms training to the Talibs (students). Taking the strongest exception to his orders, jehadi groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba outfits have vowed to continue their activities here and in PoK.