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Armed with data bank, forces take on top militant leaders

Source: PTI
April 29, 2008 19:15 IST
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Having prepared a directory of top militant commanders and foreign mercenaries operating in Kishtwar and Doda districts, the army and police have now commenced 'surgical operations' to eliminate them.

"The Army and the police have created a data bank and prepared a directory of top militant commanders, their outfits and areas of operation in twin districts of Doda and Kishtwar for surgical and area-specific operations," top security officials told PTI.

A plan has been devised for the twin districts to singularly target the top brass of foreign mercenaries under a special mission apart from normal counter insurgency operations, they said.

"Security forces and the police have recently launched operations to eliminate top militant leadership of Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashker-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohmmad and Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami in the twin districts," they said.

The two districts, called the operational hub-cum-safe sanctuary of militants, particularly foreign mercenaries, had a militant population of over 2,000 in 1993-1997. The figure has now reduced considerably.

As per the data, over 198 militants are operational in Kishtwar and nearly 100 in Doda, sources said.

Some of the top Pakistani commanders, whose names and operational areas are mentioned in the list are Saifullah in Doda, Zaffar Bhat in Kulhand (Dessa), Abu Jindal in Charala and Abdu Zahid in Marmat, sources said.

Since January, the police and army have killed 13 top commanders of HuJI, HM and LeT and arrested nine, while 11 others have surrendered, they said.

However, mercenaries are still active in the hilly belt, which shares its boundaries with Anantnag district of south Kashmir, Kargil area of Ladakh region, Udhampur district and Chamba area of Himachal Pradesh and Kathua district.

"It is therefore most strategic for the militants operating between Kashmir and Jammu regions," sources said, adding this is the reason for Doda-Kishtwar belt to emerge as the launching pad of militants.

The two districts, which have witnessed much bloodshed, can now hope for normalcy as several areas have been rid of militants now, they said.

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