Jammu, Nov 1: The Hizbul Mujahideen is a terror group by numbers, but the most lethal group operating in the Valley today is the Jaish-e-Mohammad.
The Jaish headed by Maulana Masood Azhar was founded in 2000. However after making a deadly start in the Valley, it had become dormant for long. It is since the Pathankot attack that we have begun to witness that the group has been raising its ugly head once again.
The group may not have the numbers that the Hizbul Mujahideen has, but it is more deadly than another terror group in the Valley. If one were to do a comparison of the numbers, the Hizbul has anything between 200 to 300 operatives in comparison to 40 to 50 that the Jaish has.
Now, what makes the Jaish so lethal? First and foremost, these terrorists are highly trained and have state of the art weapons. The M4 Carbine was first brought into the Valley by this group. The other factor is that the group puts in place a plan before staging an attack. It undergoes the entire process of recruitment, training, reconnaissance and then carrying out an attack.
The Hizbul Mujahideen on the other hand shows its dominance through its numbers. Most of their terrorists are untrained and do not have powerful weapons. The recent plea by the Hizbul Mujahideen commander through a video message complaining about the lack of weapons or outdated ones is a clear indicator of what the strength of the outfit is.
He even said that there have been instances of their men fighting with pistols and in some cases without weapons even. An Intelligence Bureau official explains to OneIndia that the Hizbul was a fading outfit, brought back to life by a social media campaign by slain commander of the outfit, Burhan Wani. This went on to become a fad and their presence became restricted largely to the social media through which they indulged in propaganda.
The Jaish on the other hand which is nurtured by the Pakistan army and ISI has grown in terms of strength. Pakistan has been investing more into this group and with a free flow of funds and access to the best possible weaponry has gone on to become extremely lethal. Moreover the Jaish focuses on big operations and attacks at Nagrota and Pathankot are proof of this.
Over the past couple of months, several local youth have been making a beeline towards this outfit. The Jaish, however uses only its Pakistani terrorists in big attacks. The locals are tasked with gathering information and logistics, security officials say. The choice of Pakistani terrorists for major attacks is due to the fact that they are highly trained. These terrorists undergo extensive training before they are launched into the Valley, officials also say.
Officials also admit that the encounters with the Jaish terrorists especially those from Pakistan are the hardest. Firstly they are highly trained, secondly they have sophisticated weapons and more importantly they are ready to die. They plan only in terms of fidayeen attacks and this makes the encounters difficult the officer added.
However in the case of the Hizbul Mujahideen, security officials have found it relative easier. They do not have the required training and neither do they possess sophisticated weapons. The fear of death also makes them extremely vulnerable the official also pointed out.