Indian Impersonators Come Under Attack From Real MujahideenSeptember 26, 2009
A junior commissioned officer of India’s Marine Commando (MarCo) Force and atleast a dozen commandos were killed in a 4-day gunfight in Rafiabad forests in north Kashmir’s Varmul district, which ended on September 23rd after four days of intense gunbattle with Kashmiri mujahideen.
Sources from occupied Kashmir say the operation was a ‘Fidayeen’ attack carried out by two local mujahideen who attacked the MarCos camp located near Wullar, home to the contentious Wullar barrage project that India has been using to control and limit the flow of water to Pakistan’s Jehlum river.
The highly trained Indian commandos were held up for four days by two lightly armed Mujahideen who managed to kill over a dozen commandos as well as injuring many more – some said to be in serious condition – before embracing Shahadat due to fatigue and running out of ammunition.
The Marine Commando Force (MCF) is a special forces unit, that was created by the Indian Navy (IN) in 1987.
Sporting long beards and toting AK-47 assault rifles, marcos can be mistaken for Mujahideen and they follow in letter and spirit the adage of the counter-terrorism doctrine: ‘Fight a militant like a militant’.
Dubbed as the ‘bearded force’ by the Mujahideen, Marcos have a knack of executing covert operations. They were called in along with National Security Guards (NSG) and army commandos to fight armed militants holed up inside two luxury hotels in Mumbai last year.
Officially known as the Indian Marine Special Force, the unit was raised in 1987 out of the naval divers to lead amphibious operations. The personnel volunteering for the force have to undergo a rigorous two-year training, by the end of which only 10-25 percent of the enrolled commandos remain.
Marcos have been active in Jammu and Kashmir as part of the army’s counter-terrorist efforts. Their main task is to control the infiltration of terrorists from across the border into Jammu and Kashmir through Jhelum river and Wullar Lake.
Some Marcos personnel are also attached to the army special forces units conducting counter-terrorism operations in the area.
“They operate similar to the Israeli Mistaravim units sporting beards and wearing ‘pheren’ (Kashmiri suit), thus making them indistinguishable from the locals,” another navy official added.