The Pakistani intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), which is the brain behind all the terrorist organisations working in the Kashmir valley, is devising new ways to tackle the increased killing of terrorists by Indian security forces. As part of its new strategy, it has asked the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and the Hizbul Mujahideen to focus on North Kashmir, while leaving South Kashmir to the more “aggressive” Jaish-e-Mohammad, which is almost entirely made up of foreign mercenaries. The Jaish terrorists are considered to be “stronger” than the local youths who comprise the Lashkar and Hizbul.
It is the Lashkar and Hizbul recruits who are more active in South Kashmir. But they have been asked to move to North Kashmir, where the chances of the locals identifying them or sharing with the security forces information about their hideouts, are quite low. “As per the ISI’s assessment, the encounters that have killed 150 plus terrorists this year—most of these took place in South Kashmir—happened because the locals easily identified the home-grown terrorists and shared their whereabouts with the security forces. The locals do not know the Jaish terrorists, who are all Pakistanis. The Jaish terrorists are also more radicalised than the local youths and will go to any lengths to achieve their objectives. The Jaish terrorists are also better armed,” an official source said. This includes silencing the local population by force.
According to the source, the ISI plans to use the Jaish to attack the camps of the security forces by carrying out fidayeen (suicide) attacks, with the intention to put the security forces on the back-foot and create chaos, fear and confusion. “If even two or three incidents of our camps being targeted take place, then automatically we will become more concerned about protecting ourselves first, rather than being on the offensive. These are sound military tactics that they are trying to execute,” the source added.
Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Kulgam that comprise South Kashmir, are hotbeds of terrorism in the valley, where the local terrorists functioned without any hindrance until the late 1990s. However, in this area, in recent times, the number of terrorists falling to the forces’ bullets has been increasing with every passing year. Until August this year, 116 terrorists were killed all over Kashmir, with the majority deaths taking place in South Kashmir. Thus the security forces gave out a clear message that they would not sit back and wait for things to become normal on their own. In the three-year-period between 2011 and 2013, when the UPA government was in power at the Centre, 239 terrorists were killed in Jammu and Kashmir by the security forces. However, between 2014 and August 2017, 484 of them were killed, with the maximum number of 150 being eliminated in 2016. “We will eliminate each one of them. They only have two options, either surrender as soon as possible or get killed. There is no other option that either Government of India or we are giving them. And this will continue as long as needed,” the official said.