Jaba: Pakistani reporters and troops visit the site of an Indian airstrike in Jaba, near Balakot, Pakistan, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. Pakistan said India launched an airstrike on its territory early Tuesday that caused no casualties, while India said it targeted a terrorist training camp in a pre-emptive strike that killed a "very large number" of militants. AP/PTI Photo
Afghan war veteran, IED expert from Balakot camp behind Kashmir vehicle attacks:Report
Kashmir News Trust Web Desk
SRINAGAR: Militant who is an IED expert and former trainer at the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant camp in Pakistan’s Balakot is said to behind the use of vehicle-borne IEDs in Kashmir, according to a report.
Indian intelligence officers and counter militancy experts in Jammu and Kashmir police suspect that Abdul Rasheed Ghazi is behind the recent attacks in the valley.
According to counter militancy experts, Ghazi, an Afghan war veteran who belongs to Mansehra in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Balakot is also located, is currently in the Kashmir Valley training local JeM cadre in handling explosive devices.
“The motivation is said to be revenge for the killing of two relatives of JeM chief Masood Azhar — Usman Haider and Talha Rasheed.” Hindustan Times reported.
Pakistan watchers in South Block believe that the Rawalpindi general headquarters is running with the hares and hunting with the hounds following the Balakot strike by the Indian Air Force.
Ghazi had personally launched Usman Haider alias Huzaifa, a nephew of Azhar’s, and other operatives from the Shakargarh sector in October 2018. Hyder was gunned killed by government forces in Tral, Pulwama, on October 30.
Ghazi infiltrated into J&K on December 9 along with three other militants and set up an operational base in Pulwama, the people cited in the first instance said. Ghazi is currently hiding in the Valley and is imparting training to local Kashmiris in IED fabrication using locally available explosive material including ammonium nitrate, counter militancy experts told HT on condition of anonymity .
According to Kashmir police experts, militancy are increasingly using vehicle-borne IEDs, or VIEDs, given the fact that the hardcore cadre strength of JeM has been culled to a mere 50-odd while the cadre strength of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, in Kashmir is around 30-40.
According to them, a classic example of skulduggery on the part of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was evident in an anonymous caller tipping off the Indian high commission in Islamabad about an impending VIED blast before the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bhishek, Kyrgyzstan, this month and the triggering of such a device in Arihal after the completion of the summit.
“The whole idea is to get total deniability of Pak-based groups and ISI in terror attacks in the state. The so-called tip-off is to remove Islamabad from the list of suspects,” said a South Block official on condition of anonymity.