Security forces in Jammu and Kashmir have shifted their focus to three top surviving Militant commanders, after the forces wiped-out almost entire top militant leadership in the Kashmir valley in the 11 months of 2018.
Hizbul Mujahideen chief operations commander Reyaz Ahmad Naikoo alias Mohommad bin Qasim, chief of Al Qaeda affiliate Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind outfit Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa, and Zeenat-ul-Islam, who recently switched side from Hizbul Mujahideen to Al Badr, are now on the radar of the security forces.
A resident of Tokun Beighpora village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, Naikoo joined Hizbul in December 2012 after quitting his job as school teacher. An A++ category Militant , he rose to the rank of chief operations commander after Hizbul top brass, including Burhan Wani, was eliminated in the Valley. A tech savvy commander, he is the mastermind of recent abductions of the policemen in south Kashmir.
Zeenat-ul-Islam, considered an IED expert, has been hopping from one terror outfit to another since he took up arms in November 2015. A resident of Sugan Zainpora village of south Kashmir’s Shopian district, he recently released his audio message announcing that he has joined Al Badr. Another Category A++ Militant , he is one of the most wanted commanders of the Valley.
Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa, who is the chief commander of Al Qaeda affiliate Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind, is another top commander wanted by the security forces. Hailing from Noorpora Tral, Zakir Musa was a top aide of Burhan Wani before he switched sides and brought Al Qaeda to Kashmir. Musa, an engineering drop-out, joined Militant ranks in 2013 and is considered an A++ category Militant.
The three surviving commanders are part of list of top most wanted commanders drawn by the security forces in 2018. More than 15 top most commanders have been eliminated by the security forces so far in the valley.
“We are coordinating with others forces on daily basis. We review our work and strategy on a day to day basis. I feel that all their commanders are our target. Our efforts are on to enhance operational work in future,” said Dilbag Singh, Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir.
Some of the top commanders who have been slain included Naveed Jutt alias Abu Hanzulla, Mushtaq Ahmed Mir alias Hammad, Mehraj-ud-din Bangroo, Abu Muaz, Azad Ahmad Malik, all belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Altaf Ahmad Dar alias Altaf Kachroo, Umar Majeed Ganie alias Maaz, Manan Wani, Saddam Paddar, Sammer Tiger and Abbas Bhat were some of the top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen that were eliminated this year.
Security forces also killed Jaish-e-Mohammed chief commander Mufti Waqas, who was the mastermind of Sunjwan army camp attack, Mufti Yasir and Usman Hyder, the nephew of Jaish chief and Pathankote attack mastermind Masood Azhar.
Figures collected by the different security agencies reveal that 227 Militants were killed in different encounters across the Kashmir valley. Of these 124 were locals, 44 foreigners (Pakistanis) and 59 unidentified.