IS a Live Threat in Valley, Can’t be Ignored:Army

SRINAGAR: “The Islamic State is a live threat that cannot be ignored. It is a cause of concern and we are monitoring it,” General officer Commander of Army’s 15 Corps Lt General Satish Dua told reporters here.

The Corps Commander, who heads the army in Kashmir, was replying to a question about the possibility of the Islamic State forging an alliance with the militant outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaishe-e-Mohammad for expanding its activities to the valley.

“All the security forces and the intelligence agencies are monitoring this. That is all I can say,” Lt Gen Dua said.

On the recent attack on an army camp in Tangdhar near the Line of Control, he said it was part of the militants’ strategy to hit the nearest army post or camp as they were unable to breach the multi-tier counter-infiltration grid set up by the security forces.

“This is not a new phenomenon. In Tangdhar itself, you are aware few months ago there was a similar attempt and resulted in a similar operation. So, they always try to get in close with the army post or camp because they are unable to infiltrate due to this well coordinated counter-infiltration grid. So they try and create a very sensational attack very close to the Line of Control,” he said.

The Corps Commander said that besides Tangdhar-like attacks, the militants were also carrying out very “shallow” operations very close to the line of control.

“There have also been some smaller operations where they have come just a couple of hundred metres across the Line of Control, tried to fire at our post and run back. In one of the cases, they tried to lay an IED … that was a very shallow operation,” he added. 

Lt Gen Dua noted that the militants, being unable to infiltrate or exfiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC), were resorting to local recruitment of youth in their ranks.

“The counter-infiltration grid being so robust, they are not able to exfiltrate … we are seeing that local recruitment is taking place. They are not going out for training. They are given some rudimentary training here itself. I believe these young boys are being pushed into it,” he said.

On the recoveries made from the slain militants in Tangdhar attack on November 25, Lt Gen Dua said that the documents recovered from them clearly indicated that they were coming specifically for targeting the camp.

He also said that the slain militants were carrying bags with ‘Afzal Guru Squad’ marking.

“Yes, they did carry this marking … they are from Jaish. Afzal Guru squad was written on their bags and our intelligence agencies are working on other aspects,” he noted.

Three heavily-armed militants had stormed an Army camp in Tanghdar near the Line of Control, about 160 kms from here on November 25, triggering a fierce gunfight in which all the attackers were killed along with a civilian.

Lt Gen Dua further stated that most of the 25 militants who had infiltrated this year were nuetralised before they could reach the reception area in the hinterland.

“The infiltration figures are coordinated at Multi Agency Centre (MAC). As per the MAC figures, 25 terrorists have infiltrated this year.

“But we count them as successful infiltration only if they have gone beyond the reception areas. In most of these cases, we have been able to neutralise them in the vicinity of the LoC. So that is not counted as successful infiltration,” he said.

The Corps Commander said the spurt in infiltration ahead of snowfall was a pattern that has been observed over the past many years.

“Before the snowfall, there is an attempt (by militants) to infiltrate and some (militants) go to receive them,” he said.  

The Army officer said there were two operations underway in Kupwara and Bandipora districts of Kashmir where eight to ten militants were holed up.

“In the operations at Manigah (Kupwara) and another in Bandipore, the operations are going on and the infiltrating terrorists are not allowed to get to the hinterland. Eight to ten militants in these two groups have been blocked,” he said.

Asked if drones were being used against the militants, Lt Gen Dua said only unarmed aerial surveillance vehicles were pressed into service.

“Drones are used where weapons are involved. What we have is unarmed vehicles in the Army and they are only providing a surveillance feed. So in any area that is a suspect, UAV’s are used. They are being used in the ongoing operations as well, whenever weather permits,” he added.  Agencies

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