Timergara: Attackers from Afghan side kill four soldiers
TIMERGARA: Four soldiers were killed and nine others wounded as fierce clashes erupted between security forces and militants in Maskini area of Dir Lower, near the border of Afghanistan border, on Thursday. Security officials said that militants attacked a hilltop post early in the morning. One security man was killed in the attack. According to them the area was inaccessible and the situation unclear.
They said the attackers appeared to have come from across the border. “It seems the militants from Mohmand Agency fleeing in the initial phase of the operation have attacked the security post from the Kunar side,” they added. They said that details were still sketchy. “We will have more details by tomorrow,” they said.
Local residents, however, said that about 500 militants from across the Afghan border stormed a security checkpost at Kharkai area early on Thursday morning. They said that all the 17 personnel, manning the post, were missing. They were either killed or kidnapped by the attackers, according to the locals. The checkpost was jointly manned by personnel of Dir Scouts, Levies and police.
After overrunning the Kharkai post, the locals said, the attackers went for a checkpost in Bosta area. There four security personnel, including naib sobedar Razi Mohammad of Talash and soldier Amjad hailing from Mardan of Dir Scouts and two police constables Maheed and Azizullah, were killed.
Sources said that sobedar Rahatullah of Kohat was also killed in the fighting but officials did not confirm his death. There were also reports that several personnel of an advance party of security forces, who were ordered to move to the spot, were missing.
Four bodies and nine injured personnel were brought to district headquarters hospital in Timergara, doctors said. The injured included hawaldars Saghir Ahmed and Abdullah, naeks Namdar and Khalid, sepoys Hamza, Khwaja Mohammad, Shamsher, Fazal Karim and Sanaullah.
Sources said that law enforcement agencies imposed curfew in the restive part of Jandol. Residents of Mayar area told Dawn that exchange of fire continued throughout the day and till late night. They said that security forces, backed by helicopter gunships, cordoned off the Maskini area.
A police official aware of the development told Dawn that the Malakand DIG Qazi Jamilur Rahman, DCO Islam Zeb, DPO Saleem Marwat, officers of Dir Scouts and other administrative officials had reached the area. They were supervising the action since morning, he added.
An official of Mayar police station said that he could not say anything about the clash as according to him the road leading to the area had been closed, cellular phones were not working and security personnel had not yet returned.
He said that there were reports that militants, who crossed the Pak-Afghan border at Benshai, had taken positions in the mountainous terrines. “I can not confirm reports about casualties,” the official said.
There were conflicting reports about the attackers. Some sources said that the attackers were people of Mashwani tribe as they wanted to avenge the killing of their chief Malak Zarin, who was recently killed in an attack in Kunar province of Afghanistan.
But Haji Lalzada, cousin of Malak Zarin, told Dawn that they had nothing to do with the attack. He said the two slain police constables Maheed and Azizullah were their relatives. He alleged that attackers were soldiers of Afghan Army.