Prolonged Counter-Terrorism Operation in Jammu and Kashmir Raises Concerns Over Infiltration and Militancy Surge

Prolonged Counter-Terrorism Operation in Jammu and Kashmir Raises Concerns Over Infiltration and Militancy Surge

Anantnag, J&K - The ongoing counter-terrorism operation in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district has raised significant concerns within India's security establishment. While Operation Garol is expected to conclude by Tuesday or Wednesday, there are troubling signs of an increase in cross-border infiltration, with approximately 100 active terrorists in the region, including both foreign and local militants.

Of these 100 terrorists, roughly 60 percent are believed to be from Pakistan, while the remaining 40 percent are local recruits. To address this threat, the Indian Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police have launched proactive operations, such as the one in the Kokernag area of Anantnag, aimed at rooting out these terrorists.

Despite an initial setback resulting in the loss of four security personnel, security forces have adapted their tactics to disrupt the terrorists' advantages, including their use of tunnels and trenches in the challenging terrain of the Pir Panjal Range. Operation Garol, currently in its sixth day, has successfully driven the terrorists into their hideouts through increased search operations and targeted attacks on their infrastructure, including tunnels.

However, intelligence reports indicate that the entire Pir Panjal range is infested with well-armed terrorists equipped with modern weaponry and technology. These militants have constructed caves, tunnels, and dugouts throughout the mountain range, necessitating the use of rocket-propelled grenade launchers by the Army to neutralize their infrastructure.

Authorities express concern that encounters like the one in Anantnag may continue to be prolonged and frequent, even as security forces work to strengthen the anti-infiltration grid across Jammu and Kashmir. Additionally, there are suspicions that one of the terrorists' motives is to disrupt the upcoming G20 Summit.

While the entire Pir Panjal range has yet to be fully sanitized, there have been no reports of firing from terrorist hideouts in recent days. It is believed that the terrorists have stockpiled weapons inside the caves, prompting the use of advanced surveillance equipment and precision firepower by security forces.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police are focusing on local operatives of militant organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), with particular attention on Mohammad Uzair Khan, who joined LeT in July 2022. Various terrorist groups, including LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, and Al Badr, have infiltrated South Kashmir, which currently harbors the largest number of active militants. Northern Kashmir has 16 active militants, with 13 of them being foreign militants, while Central Kashmir has nine active militants, seven of whom are cross-border infiltrators.

Notably, key handlers associated with militant outfits, such as LeT and JeM, are on the most-wanted list of security forces. The government has recently banned the People's Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) for its role in radicalization and recruitment in the Valley.

The Anantnag encounter, now in its seventh day, continues as security forces work to neutralize the remaining terrorists, recover bodies, and ensure the operation's successful completion. Drone and helicopter surveillance is being used to monitor the dense forested area and cave hideouts, where terrorists are believed to be entrenched.

This operation, marked by the use of weaponized drones and the challenging terrain of Gadool Hill, has become one of the most prolonged military engagements in Kashmir. The security forces remain committed to eradicating terrorist hideouts and have identified self-styled LeT commander Uzair Khan among the militants holed up in the area.

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