Baramulla: In a startling revelation, a senior Army officer, in charge of a formation along the Line of Control (LoC), has said in an interview that high-tech weapons and night-vision gadgets left behind by the US troops in Afghanistan have made their way into the hands of terrorists in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (Pok), who are trying to infiltrate into India.

Additionally, several Afghan-speaking men are reported to have reached PoK and hundreds of Afghan SIM cards are active in areas close to the LOC, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 19 Infantry Division, Major General Ajay Chandpuria said.

According to Chandpuria, it is also suspected that the coming summer could see attempts by terrorists who have fought in Afghanistan, to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistani terrorists using American equipment left behind by the American troops were discovered over the past few months following encounters at the LoC, which led to the killing of the infiltrators armed with these weapons and night-vision gadgets.

Chandpuria said the Army has intelligence inputs that there are 100-130 terrorists present in launch pads opposite the area of responsibility of his formation, which is also known as the Dagger Division.

“In the last one year, about half a dozen infiltration attempts were made and all of them were eliminated and large number of terrorists were killed,” said Chandpuria.

He added: “Interestingly, from the weapon and equipment which were recovered, we realised that there was a lot of spill over of hi-tech weapons, night-vision devices and equipment, which were left over by the Americans in Afghanistan, now finding their way towards this side,” he said.

‘Large Number of Afghanistan Fighters Reverted To Pakistan’

Explaining further Chandpuria said everyone has seen media reports which said that when the Americans left Afghanistan, there were more than 600,000 modern small arms left behind and several hundred thousand pieces of night-vision equipment.

“Some of these have been recovered during recent encounters at the LoC. Certainly, they are not in the equipment profile of Pakistan Army. So it is just simple to assess where does this come from,” he said.

Asked about apprehension that Pakistani terrorists who fought in Afghanistan could be diverted to Kashmir by the Pakistani Army, the senior officer said it is a serious possibility.

He said there were a number of terrorists groups which were fighting the American forces under the coalition in Afghanistan.

“Now that the Taliban has come to power there, there are multiple reports and we have our own inputs to suggest that a large number of these fighters have reverted back to Pakistan,” he said.

Major General Chandpuria added, “In addition, we have got inputs that in PoK, there are reports of (the presence of) Afghan-speaking people. Hundreds of Afghan SIMs have been reported to be active in places which are close to the LoC. It is a genuine apprehension and I think that in the coming season we will see these terrorist groups employing these people who have had experience in Afghanistan, in operations along LoC to infiltrate into own (Indian) side”.

In July last year reported that the then ongoing dramatic pull-out of the US and the NATO forces from war-ravaged Afghanistan and the increasing power push by the Taliban had India’s defence and security establishment concerned.

The concern was that the pull-out by the western forces and consolidation of power by the Taliban would eventually result in increased terror and violence in Kashmir

LoC Ceasefire Has Been A Boon For Civilians

Speaking about the ongoing ceasefire agreement at the LoC since 25 February last year, Major General Chandpuria said that on the Indian side, the biggest advantage was the peace and tranquillity enjoyed by a large number of civilian population.

“They have been able to live properly. Lot of infrastructure development affected by the ceasefire violations have gathered pace,’ he said.

Chandpuria also said that the Pakistan Army was battered before the ceasefire came into force and there is a lot of constructional activity and defence preparations being seen across the LoC.

“Having really suffered prior to understanding (ceasefire), there has been considerable effort by the Pakistan army that is visible from here, be it in defence preparedness or induction of heavy calibre weapons or improvement in infrastructure,” he said.

The senior officer added that our own forces are well equipped and well oriented and all these activities by Pakistan Army are taken into account in military planning.