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In New Delhi: As opposed to using them in the Kashmir valley to target civilians and minorities, Pakistan is now sending highly trained and well-equipped terrorists for guerrilla attacks on security convoys, camps, and patrols, according to officials familiar with the trend.

On condition of anonymity, they claimed that Pakistan and terror organisations it supports appear to be targeting the districts of Jammu, Rajouri, Poonch, and Reasi as Islamabad seeks to resurrect militancy in the area. According to the commanders, Indian security forces are already “re-calibrating” their response.

Five soldiers were murdered in the attack on 9 Para SF on May 5 in Rajouri, while five people were also died in the ambush of an army convoy on April 20 in Poonch, according to a counterterrorism official. “They used cutting-edge weapons, sticky bombs, and well-planned strikes. In addition, the terrorists employ guerrilla warfare strategies. Instead of directly attacking the security troops during the first attack, they launch an attack, retreat to the jungle in the Pir Panjal area, and reorganise for a second attack.

Security officials estimate that there may be at least 30 to 40 well-trained terrorists in Poonch and Rajouri. Security agencies have also determined that it’s possible that ordinary Pakistani army members, who often are a part of border action teams, are being ordered to carry out these ambushes in addition to battle-hardened terrorists.

While it appears that the trained terrorists are utilising the Line of Control (LoC) to cross into India and conceal themselves in the forest, their leaders are also attempting to set up bases in the Jammu region. In fact, one or two senior Al-Badr (terror organisation) commanders may have already arrived in Jammu via Bangladesh or Nepal, according to a second official.

The targeting of civilians, which was evident in large numbers in 2021 (41 killed, including migrant labour and Kashmiri Pandits), and 2022 (30), may not completely stop, but by changing its approach, Pakistan wants to stay under the radar of the financial action task force (FATF), which removed it from the “grey list” in October last year, and avoid criticism from the local population over civilian killings in the valley, an officer said. In Rajouri’s Dhangri hamlet, terrorists carried out two simultaneous strikes on January 1 and 2.

In order to deny its involvement in cross-border terrorism, Pakistan has already established proxies of its trusted terrorist organisations, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul-Mujahideen, and Al-Badr, according to the first officer.

The security forces believe that since traditional funding methods like smuggling under the guise of India-Pakistan barter trade, hawala traders, and shell companies have stopped as a result of a crackdown, terrorists are using narcotics smugglers along the LoC and up to Punjab to fund their operations and buy weapons.

An officer noted that the Indian government, intelligence services, and security forces are keeping an eye on Pakistan’s strategy change and that “it’s only a matter of time before a security strategy is in place to deal with this new threat.”

“Delhi is quite concerned about the rise in terrorist activity in the Jammu region. We have held regular meetings and are currently reassessing every aspect of the region’s security plan. A reaction plan will soon be in place and we’ll have control of the situation, according to a third counterterrorism officer stationed close to the LoC.

The Central Reserve Police Force and Jammu and Kashmir police have already given weapons training to 948 village defence guards, formerly known as village defence committees, who were revived after the Dhanri twin attacks so that they can defend themselves and maintain vigil along the border in order to provide adequate security to the local border population in vulnerable areas of Jammu, Rajouri, and Poonch.

In addition, the National Investigation Agency has been conducting raids on the leadership and underground staff of newly created terror organisations.

“The counter-insurgency operations carried out by security forces have put pressure on the terrorists operating in the valley. Furthermore, using hybrid terrorists in targeted attacks hasn’t changed the situation on the ground, according to internal security specialist Sameer Patil. Therefore, it appears that terrorist leaders and the Pakistan ISI (spy agency Inter Service Intelligence) have now turned their attention to the Jammu region by launching strikes against the security forces.


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