Jaish, Lashkar recruit local militants mostly from south Kashmir’s Pulwama: Report

Srinagar: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e- Mohammed (JeM) recruited the most number of locals from Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama both in 2018 and in 2019, according to a report prepared by security agencies and shared with the Prime Minister’s office, among others.

Forty Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men were killed in Pulwama on February 14 when a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a bus carrying the paramilitary troopers. JeM claimed responsibility for the attack. Describing the attack, the report, a copy of which has been accessed by New Delhi based Hindustan Times, says the “modus operandi is akin to Syria and Afghanistan.” The main militants behind the Pulwama attack – Pakistani nationals Rashid Ghazi alias Kamran and Farhad Butt – were killed in counter-insurgency operations on February 17 in Pulwama, HT quotes the report.

About 63 locals were recruited from Pulwama in 2018 and two more this year. Shopian district was a distant second, with 46 locals joining militant groups in 2018, but none this year. The report says that the maximum number of militants killed in 2019 belonged to the JeM – 15 militants. In comparison, 10 militants each of the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and the LeT were killed in counter-insurgency operations this year. Last year, the JeM recruited about 33 locals from the Kashmir valley. In contrast HM and LeT recruited 79 and 66 local youth in 2018.

As per the report, the Line of Control – the 776-km long de facto border with Pakistan, will be “restive” in the coming months. The report has predicted that cease-fire violations or cross border firing will increase. Importantly, the report has warned that Pakistan could use “heavy caliber weapons” to inflict civilian casualties, carry out “cross border tactical action” and increase sniping to target Indian forces deployed along the border.

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