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September 2023

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Challenges Mount as Weather Hinders Operations in Anantnag

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In the challenging terrain of Jammu and Kashmir‘s Anantnag, a prolonged encounter with well-trained terrorists has entered its fourth day. The operation has already claimed the lives of three brave officers and left one soldier missing, with several others injured.

The terrorists have sought refuge in a cave atop a hill in the dense Gadul forests of Kokernag, providing them both protection and a clear view of the joint Army and police team attempting to surround them. The path to this cave, perilously narrow with a sheer drop on one side, proved fatal for the officers during the initial assault.

Despite employing drones, rocket launchers, and mortar shells, the security forces have yet to gain full control of the area, although they remain confident of neutralizing the terrorists soon. What’s concerning is that this encounter is one of three in Jammu and Kashmir within five days, indicating a surge in terrorist activity in the Pir Panjal region, encompassing Poonch and Rajouri districts. Experts suggest a shift in terrorist strategy and potential involvement from Pakistan.

The operation has been hampered by adverse weather conditions, including heavy rain and a nearby fire. The terrorists, well-equipped with weapons, ammunition, and supplies, have displayed a high level of training and knowledge of the terrain. This prolonged engagement and the terrorists’ choice of difficult-to-reach locations suggest a new strategy aimed at drawing international attention.

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Former Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police, SP Vaidya, points out this shift, noting that terrorists are now avoiding populated areas, opting instead for remote forests and hilly terrain, making it harder for security forces to surround them. This tactical change poses a fresh challenge, and vigilance is crucial in countering this evolving threat.

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