Intelligence agencies have identified 12 terror launch pads in Pakistan that have been active after the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on such camps in September 2016, according to an intelligence report based on human intelligence and technical surveillance.
According to the report, there are close to 300 terrorists at these launch pads, ready to infiltrate into India. It also identifies the “reception” areas in Indian territory where these terrorists would be received.
The report analyses the situation after the surgical strikes, and claimed that the Indian Army had inflicted considerable damage to terror outfits across the Line of Control (LoC).
The vulnerable reception areas where the terrorists meet their handlers, who provide them logistics and money, are Lojab Valley, Rajwar forest, Bandipora, Kazikund, Rafiabad and Naugam.
There has also been a jump in successful infiltration bids after the surgical strikes, indicating that the terrorists are getting desperate. The assessment of infiltrations increasing is based on ground intelligence from civilians, intercepts and evidence of fence-cutting in some areas.
“Usually, the infiltration reduces during winter as the terrain gets tough due to heavy snow in some areas. But in view of the current situation, it could be a tough winter for the forces,” said a security official.
After the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2015, there were violent protests in Kashmir, triggering frequent clashes between mobs and security forces.
Intelligence inputs also indicated that terror bosses in Pakistan – 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar and HuM chief Syed Salahuddin had given a call to terrorists to exploit the vulnerable situation and continue with regular strikes on security forces. Fears of local recruitment by Pakistani terror groups have also alarmed security forces. It is estimated that over 100 youth have gone missing in the last few months, sources said.
Security forces also faced increased challenges in 2016, with the increasing number of casualties. However, with tensions escalating and frequent encounters, terrorist kills also went up. Official figures show 60 security men were killed in 2016, (till December 2), 39 died in 2015 and 26 in 2014.
The surgical strikes have not deterred Pakistani-based militants from planning more strikes and fidayeen attacks.
In 2016, 146 terrorists were gunned down as compared to 102 in 2015 and 107 in 2014.
Intelligence inputs also indicate that after India’s surgical strikes, the Pakistani Army has been carrying out a “precautionary deployment” all along the LoC on their side to fill up the gaps fearing another round of strikes from Indian forces.
“Soon after our raids, they have increased deployment in areas they consider vulnerable. Precautionary deployment is roughly 25 per cent of a full mobilisation aimed to plug the gaps,” said an officer.