At least 12 militants were killed on Friday in clashes between Afghan militants and volunteers of Mamond Qaumi Lashkar – a tribal militia – on the border of the Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province.
One lashkar volunteer was reported to be injured.
On Thursday, hundreds of heavily-armed militants had intruded and attacked Sarkai, Manro Jangal and Mokha villages of Mamond tehsil of the Bajaur Agency, killing five. Sources said the clashes continued for a second consecutive day.
Security forces also pounded militant hideouts with heavy artillery and mortars. Sources said that security forces were conducting search operation in these areas but the militants have fled, leaving behind heavy arms and ammunition.
Locals said that militants have been pushed back into Afghanistan after security forces and lashkar mounted a joint attack.
They said that security forces and the lashkar were carrying out joint patrols in the area while the security forces have also set up check-posts. This is the third time over the past two months that Afghan militants have crossed into Pakistan. This is, however, the first time that it has happened in Bajaur Agency. Earlier, two similar clashes took place in Lower and Upper Dir districts on April 22 and June 1, respectively.
Pakistan on Friday lodged a strong protest with Afghanistan over cross border incursion by armed militants in Bajaur Agency.
A statement issued by the Foreign Office said that Afghanistan Charge d’ Affaires Majnoon Gulab was summoned and was handed over a strong demarche containing serious concerns of the government.
In addition, the government of Afghanistan was asked to prevent such cross-border incidents from occurring in the future.
Meanwhile, serious concern over air incursion by Isaf/Nato aircraft that attacked Pakistan Military Ziarat post in South Mohmand inside Pakistan, has been conveyed to the US Embassy in Islamabad.
In this regard, a joint inquiry of the incident has also been requested and the matter has been taken up with the US/NATO/ISAF on both military and diplomatic tracks, said the other statement issued by the Foreign Office.
With additional input by our correspondent in Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2011.
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