JI­HAD RE­TURNS TO THE VAL­LEY

Pak­istan un­leashes a new wave of ter­ror even as it talks peace

India Today - - SPECIAL REPORT - By San­deep Un­nithan in Sri­na­gar

Ammi,” says a voice, “I am go­ing to sac­ri­fice my­self. I need your bless­ings.” Last month, when R& AW in­ter­cepted a call to a cell­phone in Pak­istan’s Pun­jab prov­ince, se­cu­rity forces in Jammu and Kash­mir went into a state of high alert. The yet- to- be- traced caller was clearly pre­par­ing for his fi­nal bat­tle. The army knows he is ly­ing in wait some­where in the Val­ley, like a cruise mis­sile wait­ing for tar­get co­or­di­nates.

Al­ready, highly mo­ti­vated fi­day­een, brain­washed into fight­ing unto the death, have struck thrice in Jammu and Kash­mir this year. A Septem­ber 26 twin at­tack on a po­lice sta­tion in Kathua and an army camp in Samba killed 10 per­sons in­clud­ing the sec­ond- in- com­mand of an ar­moured corps reg­i­ment. A June 24 as­sault on an army con­voy killed eight sol­diers. A March 13 at­tack in Bem­ina, Sri­na­gar dis­trict, killed five CRPF troop­ers. The Val­ley has not seen fi­day­een at­tacks for three years. Their sud­den reap­pear­ance lends cre­dence to the Pak­istan army’s deadly new game. The gam­bit, the be­head­ing of an In­dian sol­dier in Jan­uary this year, has now picked up pace as the Val­ley’s chi­nar trees start to turn a golden hue, sig­nal­ing the on­set of au­tumn.

The lynch­pin of the Pak­istan army’s new Mis­sion Kash­mir strat­egy is the new ji­hadi. The new foot sol­dier is bet­ter trained and tech­no­log­i­cally savvy. The prod­uct of three months of train­ing in 42 mil­i­tary- style boot­camps in Pak­istan Oc­cu­pied Kash­mir ( PoK), he is in­doc­tri­nated and ready to strike at tar­gets across the LoC. He is armed, not just with satel­lite phones and AK- 47s with un­der- bar­rel grenade launch­ers, but with gad­gets far su­pe­rior to the In­dian Army sol­diers who fight him. His tac­tics are more brazen. The three fi­day­een who attacked a po­lice sta­tion in Samba, about 40 km from Jammu, were dis­guised in mil­i­tary fa­tigues. They hi­jacked an au­torick­shaw to ride to an army camp and later walked in

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