Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) operational commander Mufti Rauf Asghar’s message to terrorists in Kashmir was sent after the Nagrota encounter
Mufti Rauf Asghar, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) operational commander, who had coordinated the infiltration of four heavily-armed operatives into India this month to wreak havoc, has told Jaish terrorists in Kashmir that it was becoming difficult to supply them the necessary “items”, a reference to explosives and weapons. Mufti Rauf Asghar sent the message to Jaish operatives in Kashmir soon after the gunbattle at Ban toll plaza in Jammu’s Nagrota that led to the elimination of four Pakistani terrorists within hours of crossing the border, people familiar with the matter said.
Mufti Asghar is the younger brother of JeM chief and UN designated global terrorist Masood Azhar who is reported to have been under treatment for a life-threatening spine aliment. Asghar is considered the terror group’s de facto chief in his elder brother’s absence and had overseen the infiltration of the four terrorists from Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The 19 November encounter was a huge setback for the terror group, given how heavily Asghar had invested in their training and infiltration. Border Security Force officials who have seen the 200-metre tunnel dug under the border fence said the engineering detail that had gone into digging the tunnel in Pakistan’s Shakargarh area was a surprise. They were well-armed too.11 AK-47 rifles, 3 pistols, 29 hand grenades and 6 grenades to be fired from an under barrel grenade launcher were seized.
According to intelligence reports, the infiltration of the four terrorists was part of an effort by Pakistan-based terrorist groups to prepare for a major drive in Jammu and Kashmir. They have become especially active after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The reports said terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is also mobilising cadres from its Chelabandi camp in Muzaffarabad to fresh locations in Neelum Valley across the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan. And the Hizbul Mujahideen training nearly 400 cadres at a newly constructed facility in the forest area of Oghi in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).
The Jaish, intelligence reports indicate, is not the only one feeling the heat. According to one input, the Al Badr group is exploring ways to infiltrate into India from Bangladesh after security forces tightened the security grid across the LoC in Kashmir.
Indian intelligence officials suspect the attempt to carry out terror strikes at high-value targets could be a diversionary tactic by the Pakistani army and ISI chiefs, under pressure from Opposition parties in the country, to bring the focus back on Kashmir.