The recent widely condemned car suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama has taken the lives of 49 jawans, having injured many more.
The Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), led by Masood Azhar, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Pulwama attack has seen a lot of debate and discussion over the past few days. Before I start off with the red flags, here are the facts of what happened.
1. A CRPF convoy of 70-odd vehicles was transporting nearly 2500 soldier on
the 14th of February.
2. The transport strategy was to provide a ROP (Road Opening Party) to clear any IEDs or mines on the route, along with a few armored vehicles. The rest of the convoy was regular buses.
3. The suicide vehicle was a Mahindra Scorpio driven by Adil Ahmed Darh. It was carrying 350kg of explosives out of which 80 Kg was RDX.
4. The Scorpio entered the highway and drove up to the weakest spot in the convoy, the regular buses, ramming into two and setting the explosives off.
After looking at all the evidence available on the news and the internet, a few red flags came up for me.
My analysis of the Pulwama attack is based on the knowledge of the defense forces I have gained over the years and also what I have read online. The following is what I found to be problematic
#1. How Were 350kg Of Explosives Collected?
The level of logistics required to requisition 350kg explosives is very high in any case. However, in a state like Jammu & Kashmir, it is manifold higher owing to the strong military presence.
Additionally, Indian intelligence agencies have a commendable level of infrastructure and a broad network.
I do not understand how such a large amount of explosive was allowed to be collected in the first place. I feel this is a serious collapse of on-ground human intelligence in J&K.
Given how such an attack would’ve taken a lot of time to plan, with high levels of logistics and strategy involved, our intel agencies failed to pick up any tangible knowledge of the attack.
#2. Unrest and Delays
Abnormally large levels of unrest in the Valley forced the CRPF to delay and merge two convoys into one. Due to the large size of the convoy, all of the vehicles could not be armored, a flaw that JeM exploited.
#3. Ignored Threat?
6 days before the attack, JeM released a video stating there would be a suicide attack in J&K, a threat which was seemingly ignored by our intelligence agencies.
Even though terrorist outfits routinely upload such videos, security agencies should’ve considered how devastating even one attack can be.
#4. Attack Happened Even After Sanitizing?
The road where this tragedy occurred is a national highway, and any convoy movement is preceded by a road opening party sanitizing the route to remove any potential mines and IEDs.
Additionally, the attacking vehicle seemingly popped up from nowhere. How did the terrorists know the convoy’s route? How did they manage to get that close even after the route was cleared?
This begs the question, was local help involved, and was there someone on the inside relaying information?
I’m no security expert or defense commentator, but these were a few red flags that I observed, from my experiences reading about and being involved with the Armed Forces.
The Pulwama attack was despicable, but let’s not jump to conclusions without taking everything into consideration and asking the right questions.
The people who did this need to be brought to justice and those who slipped up need to be held accountable.
I hope we do not resort to the same old strategy we adopt after every attack-political posturing that is ultimately ineffectual. A more comprehensive and concrete approach needs to be adopted and executed.
Reach the blogger @Vindicator28
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