February 2019 News

Pakistan's Offensive Against Human Intelligence Led To Suicide Attack

22 February 2019
Times of India
Aarti Tikoo Singh and Rohan Dua

Srinagar: The single biggest reason that kept Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar off the radar of the counter-insurgency agencies was the dismantling of human intelligence after Pakistan's aggressive assault on native informers in the last five years. According to official documents exclusively accessed by TOI, Adil Ahmad Dar was categorised as a C-grade militant. In other words, Dar was considered by intelligence agencies as the least dangerous in the hierarchy of terrorists. The database, updated in December 2018, also reveals that there was no information about the existence and presence of Kamran and Farhad, the two top Pakistani Jaish commanders killed in a fierce gun battle in Pulwama on Monday. In the case of the two Jaish commanders, security forces kept scrambling about their identity due to lack of intelligence. 'We were also confused about their real identity because of the Pakistan army and ISI's code name strategy for terror operations. The ISI deliberately gives various aliases to each terrorist to mislead us. They often use aliases like Abu, Ghazi, etc., which creates a lot of confusion. That is why we don't really know if there is a terrorist called Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the so-called IED expert who supposedly trained Adil Dar, the suicide bomber,' a counter-insurgency officer said. Officials of all security agencies admit that their own human intel has been in disarray ever since Pakistan's army and ISI launched an offensive against locals in Kashmir following Burhan Wani's killing in 2016. In the last three years, Pakistan-backed terrorists killed over 180 civilians, some of whom were informers, sources said. Officials declined to say exactly how many were informers. 'But that did result in weakening of intelligence on the ground,' a highly placed source said. The intelligence agencies now realise their assessment about recruitment and infiltration has also been inaccurate. 'In fact, going by the number of militants killed, it is now apparent that our statistics about recruitment and infiltration are underestimated,' an official said. For example, forces estimated that in 2018, around 140 terrorists infiltrated into the Valley and around the same number of locals were recruited into militancy. After having killed over 240 terrorists last year, they are as of today still left with around 300 terrorists. The massive gaps in the intelligence database has led to the thinking among the security agencies that they may have not analysed the trends in the Valley in the last ten years properly. 'None of us really analysed why 2008 to 2010 were the worst in terms of street violence because of stone-pelting and clashes with forces. The years when we thought Kashmir peaceful, 2011 to 2013, actually had been the years when terror groups reorganised themselves and laid the foundation for the new-age militancy. The terror groups recruited massive numbers of overground workers (OGWs). An OGW is always a potential militant but just because OGW is the unarmed and silent part of society doesn't mean he's peaceful,' an official said. Another officer said, 'We all happily treated the lull as good administration and effective policing and patted ourselves. But it is evident from the figures that since the hanging of Parliament attack convict and Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Afzal Guru in 2013, something changed drastically in Kashmir.'

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