As LoC tension mounts, over a dozen terror camps reactivated in PoK

As LoC tension mounts, over a dozen terror camps reactivated in PoK
In this file photograph taken on January 17, 2013, Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol along a border fence at an outpost along the Line of Control (LOC) between India-Pakistan at Abdulian, some 38 kms southwest of Jammu. File photo: AFP

New Delhi: As tension between India and Pakistan escalates over scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Islamabad has hastily reactivated nearly a dozen terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and close to the International Border along Jammu and Kashmir.

During the past week, hectic movement of terrorists has been seen around these camps which were almost shut in the wake of May 2019 deadline set up by Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body based in Paris. Top intelligence sources said Indian security forces have been put on high alert as terror camps in Kotli, Rawalkot, Bagh and Muzzafrabad in PoK area, bordering Line of Control (LoC), have been reactivated with the ostensible backing of Pakistan army.

Two days back, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had stated in the joint session of Parliament that Islamabad would not be responsible if Pulwama type (or even bigger) terror attack is executed in India. The all important statement of Imran Khan has virtually granted liberty to terror outfits such as Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and their handlers in Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency of Pakistan, to reactivate training camps and launch pads.

Intelligence reports reveal that more than 150 cadres of JeM, LeT and veteran Taliban have reportedly gathered at Fagoosh and Kund camps near Kotli and Shavai Nallah, Abdullah Bin Masud camps in Muzaffarabad area. JeM's chief Maulana Masood Azhar's brother Ibrahim Athar was also spotted in the PoK area, intelligence reports said.

Highly placed sources in the security establishment said National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who is currently in the Valley, had a high level meeting with senior officials which included Intelligence Bureau Director Arvind Kumar, Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, Dilbagh Singh, and top Army brass. The NSA discussed security strategy and terror threat from across the border in the backdrop of government's bold decisions taken on Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources said security agencies acknowledge the fact that in the cross-border shelling during the past fortnight, a few groups of fidayeen of JeM and LeT reportedly infiltrated into the high reaches of Kashmir. Various strategies have been put into action to neutralise these foreign mercenaries.

Earlier last week, Indian forces foiled major infiltration bid by Pakistan's Border Action Team (BAT) on forward post along the LoC in the Keran Sector, killing at least five intruders. In a week's time BAT made four infiltration bids which were successfully foiled by Indian forces.

Apart from the LoC area, terror outfits continue to train cadres inside and outside PoK. In Khyber Pakhtunwa area, veteran Taliban cadres have a strong foothold. Revealing details of terror activity in Mansehra (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), sources said terrorist training camps are located in Jangal Mandi, Shinkiari, Boi, Garhi Habibullah, Oghi, Elaqa-e-Ghair, Attar Shisha, Skardu base camp, Andher Bela and more.

Sources said that several terror camps have been dismantled while in some camps, there is no activity at present. Although under pressure of possible sanctions by FATF, the list of active camps in Pakistan has been reduced significantly, but the fact remains that terror factories still continue to operate on its soil.

Intelligence agencies have handed over a precise list of operational and non-operational terror camps to Indian security forces, sources added.

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