Jaish chief Masood Azhar’s nephew killed in Kashmir fight, American carbine recovered

Masood Azhar’s nephew Talha Rasheed (Centre) brandishes a gun while posing for a selfie with unidentified militants. (Location not known)

A nephew of Jaish e Muhammad chief Maulana Azhar Masood was among three militants killed in a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwom district, police said on Tuesday.

A senior police officer told Kashmir Dispatch that following “credible leads” his men along with army’s 44 RR and 182 CRPF conducted an operation in the Aglar-Kandi area of the volatile district in South Kashmir.

Three militants and an army trooper were killed in the gunfight, he said, adding: the militants have been identified as Talha Rasheed (Nephew of Jaish Chief), Mehmood Bhai and Wasim Ahmad, resident of Drabgom village in Pulwom.

A press release issued by the Jaish confirmed that one of the slain militants was Talha Rasheed, nephew of Jaish e Muhammad chief Masood Azhar.

“While the cordon was being laid, militants opened fire in which a armyman and a civilian were injured. The armyman was shifted to hospital where he passed away. The injured civilian was evacuated and his condition is stable,” the police officer said.

Days after Kashmir Dispatch reported that an American-made gun, used by NATO forces in Afghanistan, was spotted with a wanted militant, the police recovered the M16 gun from the site of encounter.

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“From the encounter site three weapons which include one AK, M16 rifle and a pistol besides ammunition were recovered,” he said.

Three militants killed during an encounter include Azhar’s nephew, the Jaish had said in a statement, issued late Monday evening, hours after the encounter in Pulwom had erupted.  Jaish had vowed vengeance while paying tributes to slain militants and said “their sacrifices won’t go waste.” “One day, forces have to leave Kashmir,” the JeM spokesman had said

Inspector General of Police in Kashmir zone, Muneer Khan, said: “We will ask Pakistan to collect the body of Masood Azhar’s nephew as JeM has owned it. The matter will be taken up through proper channels.”

Addressing a media conference in Srinagar with senior officers of the army and paramilitary forces, Khan said: “A US-made US made carbine rifle was recovered from the Jaish-e-Muhammad militants killed in a gunfight.

“The recovery of the US made carbine shows the complicity between JeM and Pakistan.”

Maj. Gen. B.S. Raju, commander of the Rashtriya Rifles’ Victor Force, told the media conference, “This US made  carbine is presently with a lot of armies with the NATO.

“This is used by the special forces of Pakistan Army, so we have a reason to believe that this weapon was given by Pakistan Army to JeM cadres.”

The Jaish militants had attacked a police check post in Rajpora on Saturday killing a policeman.