As forces battle militants in south Kashmir, foreign ultras in north take roots

As forces battle militants in south Kashmir, foreign ultras in north take roots

At a time when security forces have launched a major offensive against militants in south Kashmir, a large number of ultras are silently concentrating in northern parts of the Valley, not far from the Line of Control (LoC).

Sources told DH that nearly 200 well-trained and well-equipped militants, mostly foreigners, are active in Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora districts of north Kashmir.

"Not only this, more militants are waiting on launch pads for infiltration across the LoC in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). This has posed a serious challenge to the security forces, who are more concerned about southern districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag," they said.

After the killing of Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016, the face of new age militancy in south Kashmir has emerged as the bastion of not only militancy but anti-India protests.

"This has given a breather to militant handlers in the north as security forces are more engaged in the south to tackle militancy and street protests," sources added.

Frontier district Kupwara tops the list of active militants.

"Between 90 to 110 well-trained militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen are operating in Lolab, Kandi, Chowkibal, Kralpora, Trehgam and Kalaroos areas of Kupwara and Rajwar, Kandi, Nowgam, Kralgund, Zachaldara and Mawar areas of Handwara police districts," they revealed.

Similarly, they said 70 to 90 militants are active in Baramulla and Bandipora districts of the north, while 90-120 ultras are waiting on the launch pads in PoK near the LOC to infiltrate into areas opposite to the operational area of 19 Division of the army.

"And another 120-170 militants are waiting in the areas opposite to the operational area of 28 Division of Army. Most of these militants belong to LeT, JeM, Hizb, Harkatul Mujahideen and Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen. There are 28 launch pads in PoK where these militants are taken before they are infiltrated into Kashmir after reconnaissance," sources added.

A senior police officer, involved in counter-insurgency operations, said it is possible that the concentration of attacks and encounters by local militants in south Kashmir is designed to give the foreign militants in the north a chance to take roots.

"It won't be too far when you will see the action in south Kashmir turns out to be a sideshow as the main action begins in the north. The militants in the north, besides being well-trained have latest and sophisticated weapons," he said.

Local militants operating in south Kashmir, the officer said, are poorly trained and not well-equipped.

"Being close to LoC, the militants in the north have access to more sophisticated weapons. In coming times, more encounters will be reported in the north, and security forces can suffer more casualties due to the fact that battle-hardened Pakistani militants are present in north Kashmir with the latest weapons," he warned.

 

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