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Anantnag operation enters 5th day: 100-hour standoff as forces battle terrorists in Kashmir's treacherous terrain

Proficient in jungle combat tactics, these militants leverage the perilous landscape and dense forest canopy to evade the security forces, prolonging the conflict

Written by  Annesha Barua -- September 17th 2023 08:43 AM -- Updated: September 17th 2023 01:45 PM
Anantnag operation enters 5th day: 100-hour standoff as forces battle terrorists in Kashmir's treacherous terrain

Anantnag operation enters 5th day: 100-hour standoff as forces battle terrorists in Kashmir's treacherous terrain

Anantnag operation enters 5th day: In the heart of the dense forests of Gadol in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir, a relentless five-day battle continues between security forces and a group of highly trained terrorists. These militants, proficient in jungle warfare tactics, have exploited the challenging terrain and forest cover to their advantage, thwarting the efforts of the security forces and drawing out the encounter.

The ongoing standoff, which has surpassed 100 hours, commenced on a fateful Wednesday. Tragically, three officers, including two from the Army and a police officer, lost their lives in the early stages of the operation while attempting to neutralise the terrorists.

A tactical advantage for the terrorists

The heavily armed terrorists, believed to number between two and three, have strategically positioned themselves in a location that favors their tactics within the steep and densely wooded forest. This represents a concerning departure from previous encounters in Kashmir and highlights the evolving strategies employed by these militants against the security apparatus.

A relentless effort

During these 100 hours, the security forces have employed a barrage of artillery, including motor shells and rockets, in addition to utilizing sophisticated equipment and advanced drones to target suspected terrorist hideouts. The piercing sounds of explosions and intense gunfire intermittently pierce the otherwise serene alpine forests.

Advanced equipment in play

Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi, the Chief of Army's Northern Command, personally visited the encounter site. There, he received a briefing on the use of advanced equipment, including drones, and the application of firepower by the troops in their engagement with the terrorists. The Army even released a photograph of the drone deployed in the operation.

The genesis of the operation

This joint operation by the Army and police was initiated following crucial intelligence inputs. On the subsequent day, as the security forces attempted to approach the terrorist hideout, the militants, anticipating the action, opened fire, trapping the forces between dense forests, steep hills, and a deep ditch.

Sacrifice and challenges

The operation claimed the lives of two valiant Army officers, Colonel Manpreet Singh and Major Ashish Dhonchak, along with Deputy Superintendent of Police Himayun Bhat. Additionally, two soldiers were injured, and another remains unaccounted for. Evacuating the injured and deceased personnel became an arduous task due to the relentless gunfire from the terrorists.

The complex terrain

The army's assault and climbing teams have positioned themselves in the towering, dense forest and continue their relentless offensive against the terrorists' hideouts. However, it remains uncertain whether any of the militants have been apprehended. An unexpected downpour extinguished a portion of the forest fire caused by heavy shelling.

The growing challenge

These terrorists have evidently received training in jungle and high-altitude warfare, and their level of preparedness suggests they are ready for a protracted conflict. Dealing with this form of terrorism in such treacherous terrain poses immense difficulties for the security forces. While considerable progress has been made in dismantling terrorist support structures in towns and villages, the resurgence of terrorism in alpine forests poses a substantial challenge.

A persistent threat

Similar patterns of insurgency have emerged in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu province. Notably, in May and October of previous years, significant counterterrorism operations took place in the Pirpanjal and Poonch-Rajouri forests, where heavily armed terrorists managed to evade capture despite extensive efforts by the army.

In the latest battle deep within the jungles of Gadol, the security forces face not only a determined enemy but also the formidable natural elements of the terrain, as they continue their mission to secure the region from the persistent threat of terrorism.

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- With inputs from agencies


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