Peshawar: Border villages attacked by Afghan militants
PESHAWAR: Hundreds of militants crossed over from Afghanistan and attacked several border villages in Pakistan on Wednesday, triggering shootouts with local militias that killed at least five people, police said.
It was the latest in a spate of cross-border attacks that have raised tensions between Kabul and Islamabad and undermined efforts on both sides to crack down on Al Qaeda and the Taliban. A similar attack on the Afghanistan side of the border on Tuesday killed at least 12 border policemen, officials said.
The two nations have accused each other of not doing enough to stop militants from slipping across the porous border, and Afghanistan has also blamed Pakistan for firing hundreds of rockets into its territory in recent months.
Paramilitary troops and police were sent to the villages attacked on Wednesday in Pakistan’s Upper Dir district to help armed tribesmen there who were trying to fend off the insurgents, local police official Gul Fazal Khan said.
The militants torched two schools and a mosque in the village of Nusrat Dara, and destroyed a school in the adjoining village of Saro Kili, said Ghulam Mohammed, a top government official in Upper Dir. They used rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns along with assault rifles.
Security forces killed three militants and captured three others during the fighting, he said. Two members of a militia fighting the militants were killed and two others wounded, he added.
Pakistan has complained that militants coming from Afghan bases have killed at least 55 members of the security forces and tribal policemen over the last month. It has also blamed the US for the recent attacks since many American forces pulled out of Kunar over the last year to focus on more populated areas.
Meanwhile, up to 33 police personnel and five civilians were killed in fighting after the Taliban crossed over from Pakistan and attacked a remote region in eastern Afghanistan.
Nuristan provincial governor Jamaluddin Badr said about 40 rebels also died in the two days of clashes. But the interior ministry contradicted the toll and said 12 policemen had died and another five were wounded. Dozens of rebels who began crossing the border from Pakistan on Tuesday triggered the fight, Badr said.