Lashkar regroups in Valley as The Resistance Front

Written by Bashaarat Masood
| Srinagar |

Published: May 5, 2020 4:57:12 am

Security officers say the militant outfit is a entrance of Lashkar-e-Toiba, working along with different militant outfits and is new solely in its identify. (File Photo)
IN OCTOBER final 12 months, a grenade thrown at a road market in Srinagar metropolis exploded wounding a couple of distributors. An unknown militant outfit, The Resistance Front (TRF), claimed accountability, however the safety businesses trashed it as an “act of miscreants” to power a shutdown in the Valley.

Six months later, the little-known outfit is taking to the centrestage of militancy in Kashmir with its involvement in the latest encounters that resulted in heavy harm to military and paramilitary forces. The safety officers, nonetheless, say the militant outfit is a entrance of Lashkar-e-Toiba, working along with different militant outfits and is new solely in its identify.

“After the abrogation of Jammu Kashmir’s special status, Pakistan was under pressure to do something from its constituency in Kashmir. So it decided to increase the pitch of militancy in Kashmir,” a senior police official and an skilled in counter insurgency operations informed The Indian Express. “But with FATF (Financial Action Task Force) timelines on the back of its mind, it has decided to cast a new militant outfit that is secular in its name,” he stated.

The police officer claims TRF is a brand new identify given by Pakistan to Lashkar-e-Toiba. “Lashkar and Jaish-e-Mohammad had spiritual connotation and Pakistan didn’t need that,” he stated. “They wanted to secularise the Kashmir militancy and make it appear indigenous. Hence they opted for ‘Resistance’ — that has some currency in the global politics — in its name.”

The first indicators of TRF rising as a powerful militant group have been seen when the J-Ok Police busted a module of over-ground employees (OGWs) in Sopore – the city was a powerful Lashkar base in the Valley earlier than it yielded its place to Hizb and Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Kupwara. The police recovered a cache of arms and ammunition, dumped by militants close to the Line of Control (LoC) at Keran. The arrested OGWs revealed they have been “recruiting youth for the new outfit”.

Barely two weeks later, Keran witnessed the primary main gunfight in a number of years. In a fierce hand-to-hand gun-battle, 5 TRF militants have been killed however not earlier than they worn out a whole group of the military’s Special Forces – 5 commandoes of the elite Para unit.

Per week later, the TRF militants focused a paramilitary automobile in Sopore killing three Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Personnel and wounding two. The TRF, in its telegram channels, additionally claimed that the 2 militants killed in Handwara have been affiliated to it. Four military personnel, together with a colonel and a significant and a police officer have been killed in the gunfight.

Police sources say whereas the heavy harm to the military and paramilitary forces in the previous one month may very well be coincidental, the recruits of the militant outfit are extremely educated and battle hardened.

“Unlike local militants, who have no training, these new militants seem to have trained hard. As far as we know, they are trained for at least six months before being inducted,” one other police officer stated. “The outfit has a mix of both local and foreign militants so that it looks indigenous. The surprising part is that the local militants are also very well trained in Pakistan,” this officer stated.

Sources stated most native militants related to TRF have crossed over to Pakistan by Wagah border on a legitimate visa for coaching. In a 2018 confidential report, the J-Ok Police had advisable that youth intending to go to Pakistan must be required to get a clearance certificates from the police.

“For a few years now, particularly since 2016, a new trend in terrorist recruitment has emerged and the local youth are being sent to Pakistan on valid documents, where they are being trained in terrorist camps and then sent back either through the same route or infiltrated along with a group of terrorists via the LoC (Line of Control),” the 2018 report learn.

Police sources stated whereas TRF is a entrance of Lashkar-e-Toiba, it’s working collectively with different militant outfits in the Valley.

“On the ground, they (all militant outfits) are one. Even the AGH (Ansar Ghazwatul Hind) – a Hizb breakaway group that owes allegiance to AQIS (Al Qaeda in Sub continent) – has buried the hatchet and joined them,” a safety official stated. “But with Hizb decapitated, it is likely that TRF or Lashkar, whatever you call it, would take the centrestage,” a 3rd police officer stated.

Police sources stated Pakistan can also be banking on the “change in international opinion about terrorism” after the US and Taliban reached an settlement in Afghanistan.

“In Afghanistan, they (Pakistan) virtually bailed out the US. They hope US will look the other way and ignore what is happening here,” stated the senior police officer. “When Taliban came in the late 90s, we saw an increase in militancy; it was the time when we faced Kargil also. We expect to see a rise in militancy again. Over the last five-six years, Pakistan had maintained a critical mass of militants — between 200 and 300. Our intelligence reports suggest they are raising the pitch and raise this mass to something between 500 and 700,” the senior police officer stated.

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