Jammu and Kashmir News
Srinagar, June 17: The Machil sector of Kupwara is cloaked by dense deodar trees and marked by caves and boulders. Located at an altitude of 12,000-14,000 feet, the topography of the Machil sector makes it one among the easiest routes to sneak into the Valley apart from the neighboring Keran sector. The thick tree line and vegetation facilitate the movement of infiltrators and they disperse after they cross the LoC.
Along with its terrain, its proximity to the Line of Control (LoC), has made it a site for many gunfights since the eruption of militancy.
In the latest firing episode that broke out in the forests of Kupwara on Tuesday, a soldier and an unidentified militant were killed, while four soldiers were injured. After the firing stopped, a massive search operation started in the vast forestland and is still underway to track the militants.
Machil has been the favorite route for militants to infiltrate the Valley despite being well-guarded by the Army. The troops of 28 Mountain Division in Kupwara are assigned to guard the LoC from Tangdhar to Gurez, including Machil.
As per the sources, many militants have been able to sneak through this sector. They usually melt away in dense forests of Shamasbari range and reach the reception areas. Besides, there are natural caves, that the militants use after infiltration. And on top of that the Army posts in the sector are all known to the other side.
The Kishenhanga river that passes through the sector also poses a challenge to check infiltration. However, the Army ensures regular patrols in the rugged terrain to surprise the militants sneaking into the Valley.
The launching pad on the other side of Kishenganga in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) always gives these elements an opportunity to infiltrate either through the Machil sector or neighboring Shalbathu in the Keran sector.
Adjacent to the Keran sector lies Tangdhar which of late has emerged as a major infiltration route.