© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Indian troopers study the particles after an explosion in Lethpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district
By Fayaz Bukhari and Devjyot Ghoshal
SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – Safety forces battling a decades-long insurgency in Indian-controlled Kashmir are alarmed by the latest arrival within the disputed area of small, magnetic bombs which have wreaked havoc in Afghanistan.
“Sticky bombs”, which might be hooked up to automobiles and detonated remotely, have been seized throughout raids in latest months within the federally administered area of Jammu and Kashmir, three senior safety officers instructed Reuters.
“These are small IEDs and fairly highly effective,” stated Kashmir Valley police chief Vijay Kumar, referring to improvised explosive units. “It’s going to definitely affect the current safety state of affairs as quantity and frequency of vehicular actions of police and safety forces are excessive in Kashmir Valley.”
The Indian authorities flooded Kashmir, already one of many world’s most militarised areas, with extra troops in August 2019, when it break up the nation’s solely Muslim-majority state into two federally administered territories.
The arrival of the sticky bombs in India-controlled Kashmir – together with 15 seized in a February raid – raises issues that an unnerving tactic attributed to the Taliban insurgents in close by Afghanistan may very well be spreading to the India-Pakistan battle.
Afghanistan in latest months has seen a sequence of sticky-bomb assaults concentrating on safety forces, judges, authorities officers, civil society activists and journalists. The assaults – some as victims sat in visitors – have sown concern, whereas avoiding substantial civilian casualties.
Not one of the units seized in Kashmir was produced there, a senior safety official stated, suggesting they have been being smuggled from Pakistan. “All of them have come by way of drone drops and tunnels,” he stated, asking to not be named.
Kashmir has lengthy been a flashpoint between nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan, which every declare all the Himalayan area however rule solely components of it.
India accuses Pakistan of backing the insurgency in Kashmir, which has claimed tens of hundreds of lives for the reason that Nineties. Pakistan denies the cost, saying it provides solely ethical and diplomatic help to Kashmiri folks combating for self-determination.
New Delhi has tried to take care of a decent grip over the Kashmir Valley, the place high-speed cell web was suspended for 18 months till earlier in February, however the insurgency has simmered on.
Officers stated the bombs are notably worrying as a result of they are often simply hooked up to automobiles utilizing magnets, probably permitting militants to hold out assassinations or goal navy convoys that repeatedly criss-cross the valley.
In February 2019, a suicide bomber drove a automotive laden with explosives right into a convoy in Kashmir’s Pulwama, killing 40 troopers – the deadliest assault on Indian forces within the area – bringing India and Pakistan to the brink of one other conflict.
Police chief Kumar stated that safety forces have been altering protocols to take care of the brand new menace. The measures included rising the gap between personal and navy visitors, putting in extra cameras on automobiles and utilizing drones to observe convoys.
A distinction between militants in Kashmir and Afghanistan is that the Taliban have great potential to maneuver round in city and rural areas, which, together with the simpler availability of explosives, make the bombs a potent menace.
The Taliban, which initially stated it was behind a few of the assaults, has since denied any involvement within the assaults.
“The Taliban has targets, can attain them, and kill them with impunity. The entire construction of the assault – and its limitless repetition – is what makes the bomb efficient,” stated Avinash Paliwal, a senior lecturer in worldwide relations at SOAS College of London.
“In Kashmir, the house for such potential to manoeuvre with ease is restricted.”