LAHORE - On-the-run members of outlawed TTP and al-Qaeda have almost stopped communicating with each other through electronic means to avert interceptions by the intelligence agencies and they are now using sleeper cell couriers’ to contact one another, The Nation has learnt.

Highly-placed security establishment sources privy to the revelations of some neutralised members of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and al-Qaeda in Punjab told this correspondent on Friday that operatives of these terror networks are now trying their utmost to avoid using electronic communications.

They informed that terror network members told their interrogators that some of the major ‘blow-up operations’ against their partners-in-crime became successful in Operation Zarb-e-Azb and in other parts of the country because of leading intelligence agencies’ electronic communication interceptions.

The neutralised terror operatives revealed that on-the-run militant leaders have directed their associates to maintain ‘radio silence’ means no electronic communication whether through satellite phones or cell phones. They revealed that remaining cadres of the terrorists have reverted to old, less-efficient yet safer method of using sleeper cell couriers, who mostly carry verbal instead of written messages.

Security establishment sources told this scribe that they were depending on the ‘human intelligence network’ and chain of informants across Punjab and other provinces of the country to get actionable intelligence against the terrorists. They added that in some areas their informers have successfully penetrated the terror organisations and they are providing valuable information. Most of these informers are locals who belong to different walks of life.

They informed that human intelligence network had gathered some tremendous pieces of information about the terror factories of outlawed TTP and al-Qaeda before the launch of Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan and helped in pre-emptive actions in Punjab and Karachi. They added that several operations to neutralise the terror grids, including the sleeper cells, became successful owing to timely and actionable information provided by the human intelligence web.

A member of a leading security service revealed that some of the high-value terrorists had crossed the Durand Line before the launch of the Zarb-e-Azb. He informed that Omar Khalid Khurasani, leader of the TTP’s Mohmand Chapter who masterminded some of the deadly attacks against the state institutions, has also crossed into Afghanistan.

When asked how these targets could be effectively taken out, he said Pakistan has asked the Afghan government to arrest Mullah Fazalullah and others and hand them over to Pakistan for their crimes against the state and people. “Our government hopes that Kabul would respond positively on this matter.” Asked about the hiding place of such top militants, he informed that Kunar province was the safe haven now a days for Fazalullah, Khurasani and others.

About the mode of neutralising the mentioned high-value targets if not apprehended, he said that state security special units possess the professional capability to silence the enemies of the state on the other side of the Durand Line provided the Afghan government extends its cooperation on this count or launches a joint operation with Pakistani forces.