Monday 27 September 2021
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Terror Outfits’ Regrouping May Disturb Peace In Jammu-Kashmir

Vinod Shukla
Senior journalist and political commentator

Everyday something or the other is reported about being committed by Taliban terror operatives in Afghanistan. They have reportedly asked the US to vacate Afghanistan before 31 August. They threatened the US Army of dire consequence if it fails to abide by the dictate of the Taliban. This is just the beginning as the terrorists’ taking control of Afghanistan is not only troublesome for the country of its origin but a global threat which has been proved time and again.

Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan are up to their best at the moment they are known for. Killing innocent people for lame excuses, curtailing civil rights, women being forced to follow all kinds of coercive restrictions besides having their own sets of rules in the name of Sharia. These things have become new normal in the country that has got a new master in the name of Taliban. They entered the Indian embassy and consulate when they were closed and not a single official was present there indicating their respect for the sovereignty of other nations because embassies are sovereign entities. There are many governments, international agencies and organisations to take note of that but a Taliban government or continuous war in Afghanistan will be detrimental for India which is facing a terror menace for a long time. The Government of India that has been successful in curbing terror activities in and Kashmir and its spillover effect across the country will have to redraw its strategy to deal with the present development in Afghanistan. Peace that has gradually started setting in in Jammu and Kashmir will have a new threat from these developments beyond the Durand Line.

The government has been successful to a large extent in curbing the terror activities in and Kashmir. It is a well- known fact that cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is the main cause of concern for India with terrorists sneaking into India from Pakistan but with Afghanistan becoming a new terror heaven after Taliban has taken over the country, India needs to re-strategise its Jammu & Kashmir policy. Mercenaries from Syria, Sudan, Egypt, Libya and many other parts of the world will turn to Afghanistan to consolidate the Taliban and to claim their share of the pie. Terrorist organisations Islamic State (ISIS) and Islamic State Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan (ISIL-Khorasan) are a cause of concern, an issue rightly raised by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in the UNSC emergency meeting. The US has accepted the potent threat of these organisations too. Moreover, terrorist organisations of Pakistan may get shelter in Afghanistan as there is pressure on Pakistan due to the Financial Action Task Force which has crippled Pakistan to rear terrorist organisations on its land.

With countries like Pakistan, China and even giving legitimacy to the Taliban government in some way or the other, the government needs to tread very cautiously as, certainly, it has trade and many other interests in the region but security is the major cause of concern. The issue of and Kashmir, seeing a new dawn of peace after Articles 370 and 35A were made inoperative, might witness a surge of terror incidents in view of developments in Afghanistan. Pakistan will leave no stone unturned to destabilise the region as its every nefarious attempt to disrupt peace in the region was foiled so far in the past. Foreign mercenaries are neutralised in Jammu and Kashmir with the help of security forces. But once the battle in Afghanistan is over, mercenaries will be sent to Jammu and Kashmir to help radicalised youths in the state to execute terrorist activities that are being done by banned outfit Jamaat e Islami (JeI).

After Jamaat e Islami was banned in the newly carved out union territories of and Kashmir and Ladakh, the organisation has reportedly moved its base to remote areas from the urban centres to avoid the glare of security forces. But they are continuing with their agenda in a changed manner by radicalising tender minds. This is a big challenge for the Indian security forces and other security apparatus of the country. If the government is trying to resume a democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir with peace being the first condition, attempts are afoot also in the state-turned-union territory to intensify terror activities which is reflected in the killings of Ghulam Rasool Dar and his wife, killing a two-year-old girl in a grenade attack, killing of some other BJP workers, killing of Rakesh Pandita and many more such incidences.

Regional political outfits of the union territory and radical organisations have become irrelevant due to their corruption, nepotism, blocking terror funding and banning organisations like Jamaat e Islami. This old order is collapsing fast in and Kashmir. Apparently, there was laxity on part of the government to take the matter of JeI to its logical end. Ban on JeI appeared to be an ad hoc move and random counter terror measure. Organisations like JeI are well-equipped to elude the official ban by going into hibernation and re-consolidate themselves when things become suitable for it. This is exactly what it did in Kashmir. They stopped some of their terror-related activities and also stopped roaming around with Islamic appearances. They continued their work under cover. Reportedly, they are in touch terror networks with Turkey and Muslim brotherhood of Egypt. They will certainly play a major role in creating unrest and in intensifying militancy the way they were doing in the past. With the Taliban taking over reins in Afghanistan, the situation will be congenial for extremist and separatist elements in Jammu and Kashmir.

India must be ready to deal also with more intense operations resulting from possible strengthening of ties between Kashmir-centric terror groups and the transnational Terror Groups like Taliban, ISKP and al Qaeda. The information war is yet another instrument in their hand that they have been using very aggressively. So, the government must be ready to deal with these elements for the betterment of Kashmir in particular and goodness of the country in general.

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