After a week-long encounter, security forces kill two terrorists, including LeT commander, in Anantnag

Security forces kill LeT commander in Anantnag

Srinagar: The security forces have finally succeeded in eliminating two terrorists, including a top commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), in the forest area of Kokernag in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. The encounter, which started on September 13, ended on Tuesday (September 19) after a massive search operation involving drones, mortars, and explosives. However, the possibility of more terrorists hiding in the dense jungle cannot be ruled out, according to the officials.

The slain terrorists have been identified as Uzair Khan (28), the LeT commander who was active since 2019, and his associate. The body of Uzair Khan was recovered from the site, while the body of the other terrorist was visible but not retrieved yet. The security forces also suspect that they may find the body of a third terrorist who was killed in the initial exchange of fire.

The encounter had claimed the lives of five security personnel, including a colonel and a deputy superintendent of police, on the first day itself. They were Colonel Manpreet Singh, the commanding officer of the 19 Rashtriya Rifles unit of the Army, Major Ashish Dhochak, Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Humayun Bhatt, and two soldiers. One soldier and one CRPF trooper were also injured during the operation.

The encounter began when a joint team of the Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police launched a cordon and search operation in the Gadole area of Kokernag following inputs about the presence of terrorists there. However, the terrorists seemed to have anticipated the action and opened fire on the security forces from a cave-like hideout. The security forces faced heavy resistance from the terrorists who used sophisticated weapons and grenades to thwart their advance.

The operation involved the use of drone surveillance and aerial bombing to flush out the terrorists from their hideout. Several hundreds of mortar shells and rockets were fired by the security forces to destroy the cave. The operation also faced challenges due to the rough terrain and bad weather conditions. The security forces had to cut through thick vegetation and climb steep slopes to reach the encounter site.

Security forces kill LeT commander in Anantnag

The operation was one of the longest-running anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir in recent times. It also exposed the threat posed by The Resistance Front (TRF), a shadow outfit of LeT, which claimed responsibility for the encounter. The TRF emerged in 2019 after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and has been involved in several attacks on security forces and civilians.

The security forces have appealed to the people not to venture into the encounter area as there may be unexploded shells and explosives lying around. They have also said that they will continue to search and sanitize the area until they are sure that no terrorist is left alive.