25 security personnel killed Afghan-based militants raid Chitral posts
ISLAMABAD/CHITRAL: Hundreds of Afghanistan-based terrorists on Saturday staged yet another cross-border raid into Pakistan, killing 25 security personnel and capturing two border posts in Chitral. The assault prompted the military to accuse regional Afghan authorities of aiding the attackers.
Twenty raiders were killed when Pakistani security forces retaliated. The attack was launched from Kunar and Nooristan provinces of Afghanistan on seven border posts in Chitral.
The ISPR in a statement said: “At least 25 security forces personnel — 16 Frontier Scouts, four policemen and five levies — embraced shahadat (martyrdom) when 200-300 terrorists from across the border attacked FC checkposts in Chitral early this morning.”
A military spokesman said the attackers were engaged by the security personnel at the posts. “However, two border posts were overrun by the terrorists,” he said, adding that reinforcements were subsequently dispatched to the area for beefing up security.
Cross-border raids from Afghanistan started in April this year and so far about 75 troops and civilians have been killed in at least six attacks. The forays hurt efforts to improve ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Rockets fired by Pakistani troops on fleeing terrorists that inadvertently landed across the border further frayed ties.
Most of the cross-border incursions were planned and carried out by militant commanders, Fazlullah of Swat and Maulvi Faqir Muhammad of Bajaur, with the help of other terrorists who had been driven away from their bases in Swat, Dir and Bajaur, but have now taken up sanctuaries in Kunar and Nooristan provinces.
“Since their expulsion from their native areas, the terrorists have organised themselves with the support of local Afghan authorities in the two provinces,” a military official said.
The terrorists had also capitalised on a Nato move last year to ‘reposition forces’ from the eastern regions under a counter-insurgency strategy to southern Afghanistan.
The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan had last month announced that the focus of the war would shift to eastern parts, but the process has been slow, allowing terrorists to launch cross-order attacks.
“Due to scanty presence of Nato and ANA (Afghan National Army) forces along Pak-Afghan border, the terrorists are using these areas as safe havens and have mounted repeated attacks against own security forces posts and isolated villages,” a military spokesman said.
The ISPR statement regretted that intelligence shared by Pakistan with the Afghan government and NATO about presence of terrorists from Pakistan in Kunar and Nooristan provinces and their local Afghan support network had been ignored.
“No worthwhile action has been taken against the terrorists and attack against Pakistani border posts have continued with impunity,” it added.
Pakistani Taliban had launched similar attacks on the Arsoon checkpost three moths ago and had killed four personnel of the border force.
Due to intensive fighting in the area, security forces were unable to retrieve bodies of all their colleagues. Only 12 dead bodies had been retrieved when we went to press.
The Mirkhani check post is located 20 kilometres from Drosh and 64kms from Chitral city, to the south, Security forces have repulsed Taliban-led onslaught a number of times.
Meanwhile, people in Arandu, Chitral district, said they had observed an unusual movement of Nato aeroplanes across the border in Kunar province. Talking to Dawn on telephone, a number of people confirmed the presence of Nato planes.