One feels glad to see Jammu and Kashmir drop steeply in the hierarchy of India’s security concerns. I am not going to spoil the party by suggesting that the current situation is just a smokescreen behind which lie many scheming ideas and thoughts to take it all back to 2001.
Why 2001? It is simply because that is a landmark year recorded as the one with the highest terrorist casualties (2,100 killed); or, in other words, the year with a disproportionately high number of engagements, contacts, gunbattles. It was also the year when we saw the beginning of the Nato onslaught into Afghanistan (then usually referred as AfPak) after 9/11.
Afghanistan and J&K have a long association; I am not alluding to their deep history but only to recent times. It’s the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at the end of 1979 that brought the mercenaries, often called jihadis, to Afghanistan under the sponsorship of the United States and Saudi Arabia. The rise of Islamic obscurantism can be traced back mostly to the 1980s when the refugee camps on the Pak-Afghan border became the centres of conversion to more radical beliefs of Islam.
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence gained much of its experience in handling tricky intelligence and operations related situations in Afghanistan. As soon as the war ended with the Soviet defeat, the mercenaries were available for a song and became the new jihadis in J&K.