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HVK Archives: Many foreign mercenaries killed in Udhampur, Doda

Many foreign mercenaries killed in Udhampur, Doda - The Times of India

Dwarika Prasad Sharma ()
October 17, 1998

Title: Many foreign mercenaries killed in Udhampur, Doda
Author: Dwarika Prasad Sharma
Publication: The Times of India
Date: October 17, 1998

Several groups of militants, mostly foreign mercenaries, have been
eliminated in on-going-helicopter-supported commando operations in
the mountain ranges of Doda and Udhampur districts, sources said.

The highly trained and motivated platoons of commando operating at
several places in the mountain jungles are drawn from the National
Security Guards and the Rashtriya Rifles. The operations were quietly
launched five weeks ago and their progress continued to be officially
kept under wraps. "The low-key operations have already recorded a high
performance," the sources said.

The helicopter support, according to sources, is limited to
airdropping of personnel and supplies, evacuation of casualties,
surveillance and communication of information about location of
militant groups.

The commandos dropped into the mountains, carried an initial
supply sufficient to "keep them on their own for an effective
long-haul operation," the sources said. They added: "Besides, they
have the essential guerilla training and motivation to live off the
earth, if needed." The supplies, however were being replenished
after a fortnight or so. It is acknowledged that the fighting
motivation of Afghan mercenaries, includes their ability to "live off
the earth - to survive even on grass".

The sources, however added that there was a human limitation to even
the most diehard survival grit and the groups of militants that had
slunk into mountain crevices when the surprise assaults began would be
soon forced out by the increasing cold and need for "normal" food.

The initial air surveillance had spotted concentrations of
militant groups high up in the Gool area of Udhampur district and the
Padri Gali area of Udhampur district, adjoining Chamba district
of Himachal Pradesh. The first recce had spotted 30 groups, each
having five to 10 members.

Some militants were, eliminated soon on the first landing of
commandos, while others can deeper into jungles, or hid in
mountain crevices, or started running toward the Valley across the
Banihal range.

The sources said that while the militants were being gradually
eliminated by the commandos, their possible escape routes had been
plugged by other security forces poised on the south Kashmir and Chamba
sides of the ranges. They further said that operations had been
"well-timed" since the approaching severe cold and need for food
would soon force the militants to try to descend to lower heights.

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