Detailed investigation into the November 19 Nagrota encounter, in which four terrorists were gunned down, have revealed the involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) operational commander Kasim Jan, the principal accused in the 2016 Pathankot air base attack. Jan is one of the main launch commanders of Jaish terrorists into India and has links with underground workers all over South Kashmir. He reports directly to Mufti Rauf Asghar, the de-facto chief of the UN designated global terrorist group.
According to Indian counter-terrorism officials, with the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and resurgence of the Taliban, its Deobandi ideological brother Jaish has got hyperactive across the Jammu and Kashmir border with no less than 14 specially trained terrorists waiting at Gujaranwala to infiltrate into India.
“Nearly 200 terrorists of mixed tanzeems are waiting at launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) to infiltrate into India. We are picking up revival of Al-Badr group as well as creation of another terror front Lashkar-e-Mustafa, headed by one Hidyatullah Malik, and other Pakistani based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group training another 23 terrorists at Jangal-Mangal camp in Khyber-Paktunkhwa,” said another security official.
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Data extracted out of global positioning sets, wireless handheld sets and receivers from the bodies reveals that the four Jaish attackers were trained in commando warfare as they walked nearly 30 km from the JeM camp at Shakargah to the Samba border and then to the pick-up point at Jatwal, which is six kilometres from Samba to Kathua. This means the attackers walked through the moonless light to the pick-up point and then moved towards Jammu and Kashmir.
“The approximate pick-up point is 8.7 km aerial distance from the international border and the JeM Shakargarh camp is 30 km from Jatwal. The probable infiltration route was through Mawa village in Samba sector, which is between Ramgarh and Hiranagar sector. There are various kaccha tracks near Nonath nalla, which reaches upto international border from the pick-up point. The nala merges into Bein nala near Pakistani village of Chak Jaimal. It is estimated that the terrorists walked the total distance between 2.5 to 3 hours depending on the various routes,” said a senior official.
There is evidence to indicate that they boarded a truck (JK01AL 1055) between 2.30 and 3 am in the night and were seen crossing Sarore toll plaza towards Jammu at 3.44 am. The truck then moved towards Kashmir using the Narwal bypass route with the security forces intercepting it around 4.45 am at Ban toll plaza.
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According to senior security officials, the slain terrorists were suicide attackers as their groin area was shaved as has been witnessed in case of jihadists in the past incidents. Besides assault rifles, under barrel rocket launchers and pistols, the four were also carrying 6.5 kilograms of nitrocellulose mixed with fuel oil, an explosive used in shaped charges.
While JeM commander Rauf Asghar monitored the attack from Bhawalpur with Qari Zarar, the launcher was Kasim Jan, who handles all the Jaish infiltration into South Kashmir. The LeT used the north Kashmir route between Uri and Kupwara sector.
“With Rauf Asghar reported to be recruiting terrorists in Peshawar, the Pakistani deep state has decided to raise the violence levels after the deep freeze in the Valley gets over by January-end 2021,” said a Kashmir watcher.