100 Hours On, Forces Locked In Jungle Warfare With Terrorists In Kashmir

Due to their jungle warfare training, the terrorists are using treacherous terrain and forest cover to prolong the struggle.

Thousands of troops, including para commandos, are still engaged in an endless gunfight deep in the dense forests of Gadol in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag. To prolong the battle, the terrorists are using treacherous terrain and forest cover to keep the forces at bay.

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A faceoff that has now lasted for over 100 hours began on Wednesday, and three officers, including two soldiers and a policeman, have been killed in action.

In the dense and steep forest, two to three heavily armed terrorists are hiding in a tactically favourable location. In Kashmir, the terrorists are using a new pattern to attack the security structure.

They also used advanced drones to drop explosives on suspected terrorist hideouts and fired hundreds of motor shells and rockets.

A loud explosion and heavy gunfire can be heard from time to time in the peaceful alpine forests.

In his visit to the encounter site on Saturday, Lt General Upendra Dwivedi was briefed on the use of advanced equipment, including drones and firepower against terrorists.

An image of the drone used in the operation was even released by the Army.

The operation

Based on intelligence input, the Army and police began a joint operation Tuesday night, followed by an attempt to approach the terrorist hideout the following day. With dense forests on one side and a deep ditch on the other, the terrorists appeared to have anticipated the action and opened fire on the forces.

There were three soldiers killed in action – Colonel Manpreet Singh, Major Ashish Dhonchak, and Deputy Superintendent of Police Himayun Bhat. Another soldier is believed to be missing, while two more were injured.

It was an uphill task to evacuate the wounded and those killed in action following the heavy firing from the terrorist side.

Assault and climbing teams have taken position in the dense and towering forest, and a relentless offensive is underway against target hideouts. It is unclear whether any of the terrorists have been captured.

In the midst of heavy shelling, a portion of the forest caught fire yesterday afternoon, but unexpected rain quickly put it out.

The new security challenge

Terrorists appear to be well-prepared for a long haul, having been trained in jungle warfare and high-altitude warfare. Organizing logistics in such treacherous terrain may have taken a long time, sources say, adding that dealing with this type of terrorism is extremely challenging.

It has been possible to dismantle terrorist support structures in towns and villages across the region to a great extent, but terrorism in alpine forests could undo the gains made in recent years. Similarly, terror activities are taking place in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu.

Terrorists killed 10 soldiers in twin attacks in May, including five paratroopers. Massive counterterrorist operations failed to track down any of the attackers in Pirpanjal’s dense forest.

After nine army soldiers were killed in twin attacks in Poonch-Rajouri forests in October 2021, the army launched one of its longest anti-terrorism operations.

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