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Over 300 terrorists, including Afghans, at PoK launchpads: Intel

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New Delhi, Jan 10, 2020-

An approximate 300 terrorists, including some from Afghanistan, are being trained at launchpads in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK), reveals an intelligence input shared with the government just three months after Indian Army killed 6-10 Pakistani terrorists and soldiers in the region’s Neelam Valley in a major artillery counter-offensive, targeting four such terror launchpads.

The latest intelligence report mentions that around 40-50 terror launchpads are currently functional in PoK and are being facilitated by Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan Army to train terrorists.

The report warns that these terrorists are set to infiltrate into India to carry out major attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and other major cities.

A high-level alert has been sounded in various Indian cities ahead of Republic Day on January 26 following the intelligence report which specifically mentions that over 50 terrorists from Afghanistan among 300 getting training under Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed and ready for cross-border action.

Neelam, Leepa and Tangdhar valleys in PoK near the Line of Control (LoC) are reported to be the regions where these terrorist launchpads are based, the report reveals.

Home Ministry officials said that the terror launchpads were “wound-up” in most of PoK after the 2019 Balakot airstrike conducted by Indian Air Force when Indian warplanes crossed the de facto border in the disputed region of Kashmir on February 26 and dropped bombs in the vicinity of the town of Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The officials, seeking anonymity, said some small groups of Pakistani Special Service Group commandos are positioned in PoK opposite the Keran and Poonch sectors in Jammu and Kashmir. However, they said that the number of these groups were not clear.

Information has been shared by Indian intelligence agencies that Mufti Rauf Asgar, the brother of JeM chief Masood Azhar, has been planning for attacks in India and has briefed to those terrorists being trained in these launchpads in PoK.

Asgar, who is held to be behind various terror strikes in India, had held a meeting in August last year in Bahawalpur regarding the future plans of the JeM and instructed to the launchpads commanders to push infiltrators into India, said the officials.

It is a “revival” attempt of the JeM in Jammu and Kashmir against the backdrop of killing of “157 terrorists in the year 2019” due to major anti-terror operations conducted by the security forces as per data shared by Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy to Parliament in the monsoon session last year.

The data had also mentioned that the cross-border infiltration attempts increased to 84 since scrapping of Article 370 and 35 A from Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, as compared to 53 in the preceding time frame. Successful infiltration attempts, however, have come down from 59 to 32, the home ministry said.

The JeM and LeT are learned to have been tasked with increasing of their ranks and strengthening the operational leadership in Jammu and Kashmir which has been bifurcated into two Union Territories.

The banned group, the officials said, also wanted to revive its local base in Jammu and Kashmir as most of their ground workers are caught or killed in security forces’ operations and the remaining are unable to survive and fight.  (Agency)

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