Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed militants have been asked by their handlers across the border to remain in hiding in the forests of Jammu and Kashmir and not trust locals in the wake of “unprecedented level of collaboration” among security forces to flush out foreign terrorists, officials said.
In the aftermath of Monday’s attack on Amarnath pilgrims, in which seven persons were killed, security forces have shifted their focus to culling the Pakistani terrorists in the valley.
“Forces are coordinating at an unprecedented level to corner these foreign terrorists, that is the top priority right now,” an official told IANS.
Sources in the Indian Army told IANS that around 115 foreign or Pakistani terrorists are estimated to be in the Kashmir valley, of whom around 90 belong to the LeT and 20 are from the JeM.
As per estimates of the security forces, there are more than 250 terrorists in the Kashmir valley over all.
The foreign terrorists are concentrated in Kupwara and Bandipora, the sources added.
According to intelligence inputs, the terrorists have been tasked with reviving terrorism in northern Kashmir. The terrorists have also been instructed to keep hiding in the forest and not trust locals, “or allow local cadre”.
“They have been asked to remain in isolation, instructions are given by their bosses across the border,” another source said.
For communication, these terrorists use an integrated mobile and radio device, and a highly coded communication which is difficult to track.
“They use something called YSMS – it is a coded communication, with an integrated mobile and radio set,” the source said.
According to sources, local support for terrorists has seen some decline post the killing of 22-year-old Kashmiri Army officer Lt. Ummer Fayaz in May. However, the terrorists who have infiltrated from Pakistan target the Gujjar and Bakarwal shepherds for supplies and other support.
Around 128 infiltration attempts were made by terrorists this year in Jammu and Kashmir, of which 32 were successful, the source said.
This year so far, the forces have killed 97 terrorists in the valley.