New Delhi, Feb 15: The Pulwama attack is being seen as a revival of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) whose cadre strength had shrunk drastically in recent years.
Sources said the Pakistan-based terror group founded by Masood Azhar was on a recruitment drive in Jammu and Kashmir to increase its strength as it lost almost its entire leadership with its numbers coming down to barely half-a-dozen just three years ago.
On the target of JeM are young Kashmiris who manage to escape the radar of the security agencies because of their low-profile background. Adil Dar, who drove the explosive-laden vehicle into the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy was one such young recruit who was just a year old in the organization.
The local sentiment after the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016 made the atmosphere conducive for JeM recruitment drive.
Sources said that another distinct trend that has emerged is the shortened life-span of these young recruits. Because of action by security forces, most of these youngsters get killed within a few years of joining the terror groups unlike in the past when an average life-span of a terrorist was anywhere between 10 and 12 years.
The JeM had worked under the shadow of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen, the two dominant groups, but it has been involved in almost every attack on security forces this year. The revival attempts started last year when the outfit began carrying out daring attacks. According to estimates by security agencies, its numbers have swelled to nearly 100 after the local recruitment efforts.
Intelligence officials are of the view that instead of blaming Pakistan, answers should be demanded from China for shielding JeM as Beijing has been stalling move to declare Masood Azhar as designated terrorist under 1267 sanctions of the UNSC.