Four Army soldiers were killed in the encounter between security forces and terrorists in Kalakot forests of Rajouri.
Two Pakistani terrorists were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri after a 24-hour-long encounter between security forces and terrorists. Four Army soldiers were killed in the gun battle yesterday in the Kalakot forests of Rajouri, while another injured soldier died today.
One of the terrorists has been identified as Qari, a Pakistani national who held a high rank within the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He was sent to revive terrorism in the region. He is an expert in IEDs, operating and hiding from caves, and a trained sniper, the Defence Public Relations Officer (PRO) Jammu said.
“He has received training on the fronts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, holding a prominent position as a terrorist leader within Lashkar-e-Taiba,” stated an official.
Operating actively in the Rajouri-Poonch region with his group for the past year, he is suspected to be the mastermind behind the Dangri and Kandi attacks.
The operation was initiated on Wednesday morning following an incident where terrorists assaulted a local Gujjar in Bajimal village for refusing to provide them with food. Villagers promptly reported the incident to security forces, leading to the launch of a significant anti-terrorist operation in the area.
Exploiting the terrain and dense forests, the terrorists engaged in intense firing on troops, resulting in the loss of four soldiers’ lives and injuring two others.
To prevent the escape of the terrorists involved in the encounter from the heavily forested area, the region was cordoned off overnight, with additional security forces deployed.
The army, under the supervision of senior commanders, is managing the operation, noting that the terrorists have been surrounded and injured within the forested area.
Initially, two terrorists were believed to be involved in the encounter but given how long the encounter has gone on for, officials now suspected that the number could be higher.
Among the killed soldiers, three are special forces commandos, which again highlights how officers always lead from the front during counter-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir. In September, a commanding officer, a major of the army, and a DySP of J&K police were killed during an anti-terrorist operation in Kokernag forests in Anantnag district.
The Rajouri-Poonch stretch of the Pir Panjal forest was largely free of terrorism since 2003 but terrorism reared its head again in 2021 leading to frequent encounters in the region.
In the last two years, more than 30 army troopers have been killed in the area.
In most of the encounters, terrorists have managed to escape even as troops remained engaged in protracted operations for weeks on end.
The forest proved to be a challenge for the security forces in the last few years as terrorists use the dense forests to conceal their positions, taking advantage of the topography.