August 2017 News

450 Terrorists Trained By Pakistan Army Look To Sneak Across LoC And Strike Forces In Kashmir

31 August 2017
India Today
Ajit Kumar Dubey and Manjeet Singh Negi

New Delhi: Having failed miserably this year to push terrorists into India, the Pakistan army is frantically trying to help close to 450 of them sneak across the Line of Control (LoC) to revive their activities and launch attacks against the armed forces in the Kashmir valley. Most of these jihadis have been trained in new camps under the supervision of the Alpha 3 company of the Pakistan army, which is headed by a senior officer of the force. This unit is deep into training and exporting terrorists across the globe, Indian Army sources told Mail Today. As part of the new strategy of the Pakistani army, the terrorists have been trained in assembling improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to create trouble in the Kashmir valley to make up for the setback terrorist groups have suffered as security forces have eliminated around 130 of them this year, the sources said. Indian forces and agencies have in recent months launched a multi-pronged crackdown on jihadis and their sympathisers in the Valley, crippling the terror infrastructure and choking the flow of funds. Officials feel that the terrorists would attempt crossing over into India from the North Kashmir side through areas such as Gurez as the terrain is quite treacherous, prompting intruders to try their luck. This year, a majority of terrorists were eliminated by the security forces - mainly the Army - at the Line of Control (LoC) itself when they had just stepped in or were trying to enter Indian territory because of the increased presence of troops to plug the gaps. The Army had racked up the number of battalions in Kashmir by adding more units from outside at the LoC and also redeploying troops in the hinterland as part of a three-tier counter-infiltration grid. 'Increased troop presence helped the units spring a surprise on the terrorists attempting to enter Kashmir as they were caught in ambushes on routes their guides had been taking for a long time,' the sources said. They added that apart from the training to handle basic weapons such as AK-47 assault rifles, the Pakistan army is now coaching them on how to carry out direct, sensational, attacks on camps of Army and CRPF in the Valley. Most of the terrorists waiting to infiltrate are from the Hizbul Mujahideen, followed by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, and their movements have been noticed frequently at the new launch pads created by the Pakistan army after the 2016 surgical strikes by India. The sources said about 200-250 terrorists are active in the Valley, spread between North and South Kashmir areas. 'In South Kashmir, it is the local terrorists of the Hizbul who are mostly active while foreign terrorists are mostly active in the northern part of the valley,' they said. Sources said the terrorist organisations wield more influence than the Pakistan army in some parts of PoK because of accretion in patronage by successive governments and army chiefs. They added that the jihadis are paid about Rs 18,000 to Rs 19,000 a month for getting killed by Indian security forces. Security officials have attributed the availability of lowcost terrorists to lack of job opportunities on the other side of the LoC and the growing radicalisation among youth on both sides of Kashmir. The sources said Army troops across the Kashmir valley and LoC have already been maintaining high operational tempo against terrorists and would continue to do so to tackle the renewed efforts by the Pakistani forces to ramp up terror activities in the state. This year, because of sweeping operations by forces, top terrorists such as Sabzar Bhatt, Bashir Lashkari and Abu Dujana have been eliminated in encounters spread across cities and remote areas that could have been used by the jihadis to evade security personnel.