Cross-border attacks: Gilani rings up Karzai over latest Dir attack

Published: July 7, 2011

Prime Minister Gilani expresses concern over militant activity in Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas of Dir, Mohammand, Bajaur and Kunar. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

Tensions between Islamabad and Kabul flared up on Wednesday after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani expressed ‘serious concerns’ over cross-border raids carried out by militants from Afghanistan into Pakistani territory, and called for a swift end to such raids.

As hundreds of militants from Afghanistan launched fresh attacks in Upper Dir, Premier Gilani telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss the situation.

“The prime minister expressed Pakistan’s serious concern over the activities of the militants along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, especially in Dir, Bajaur, Mohmand (tribal agencies) on the Pakistan side and Kunar (province) on the Afghan side,” said an official handout issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Gilani told Karzai that Pakistan Army was exercising utmost restraint, despite  repeated cross-border incursions by Afghan militants into Pakistan.

The situation, he said, needed to be defused quickly.

Pakistan has requested International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to convene an immediate meeting for border coordination between regional commanders, the prime minister added.

He also requested the Afghan president to ask Isaf and Afghan military commanders to join Pakistan’s efforts to defuse the situation created by the militants and to avoid any further loss of life of innocent persons on both sides. The statement said President Karzai expressed serious concern over the situation and expressed readiness to send Isaf and Afghan commanders for a meeting to defuse the situation.

He said both countries should constantly remain in touch and jointly frustrate the evil designs of the militants.

“It is a trap of the militants, which can be thwarted through close coordination and understanding,” the Afghan President insisted.

This week, Pakistan and Afghanistan decided to establish a ‘military hotline’ to end border hostilities.

However, border incursions continued unabated and the latest militant attack from Afghanistan is reported to have killed at least five people in Upper Dir.

Pakistan says at least 55 members of the security forces and tribal police have been killed in cross-border raids by the militants from Afghanistan over the past month. Afghan officials, on the other hand, have complained that Pakistan has launched hundreds of rockets into eastern Afghanistan since May, killing at least 40 people.

Dir attacks

Several hundred militants crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan on Wednesday and attacked several border villages, triggering fierce gun battles with local militias in which at least two people were reported killed, officials said.

This is the latest spate of such cross-border attacks, which have raised tensions between Kabul and Islamabad and undermined efforts on both sides to crack down on extremist elements in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Paramilitary troops and police were dispatched to the villages under attack in upper Dir district to help armed tribesmen there who are trying to fend off the insurgents, local police official Gul Fazal Khan said.

Security forces killed three militants and captured three others during the skirmishes, said Ghulam Mohammed, a top government official in upper Dir. Two members of a local militia fighting the militants were killed and two others wounded, he added.

Hundreds of militants staged a similar cross-border attack against villages in upper Dir on June 1, sparking off three days of fighting in which at least 25 soldiers and three civilians were killed, according to local officials.

Pakistan has pressed Afghanistan to do more to control extremists on its side of the border and prevent insurgents from crossing the border. It also blames the US for the recent attacks after American forces pulled out of Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province over the past year to focus on other areas.

Pakistan Army denies it intentionally fired rockets into Afghanistan, but acknowledges that several rounds fired at militants conducting cross-border attacks may have landed over the border. Agencies

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2011.


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Reader Comments (19)

  • Samir
    Jul 6, 2011 - 11:21PM

    Afghans have long known that Pakistan is not a friend. Pakistan complains about “India’s presence” in Afghanistan. India and Pakistan have the same number of consulates in Afghanistan – 4. They are all in the same cities.

    Furthermore, India has spent $1.3 billion on reconstruction. Pakistan has probably spent a similar amount on creating and funding terrorists to ruin Afghanistan. Does anyone wonder who Afghanistan views as a friend and who they view as a enemy?

    We must get the Pakistani government and military/ISI to end all support to the terrorists or they will continue to wreak havoc inside Pakistan too.Recommend

  • Shafique
    Jul 6, 2011 - 11:28PM

    if u tease us more… we ll cry !! clear warning from murshad pak =)Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jul 7, 2011 - 12:04AM

    It is ironic that all of a sudden Pakistan finally knows how it feels about cross border terrorists? The whole world knows it was the other way around, now the shoe is on the other foot and Pakistan is complaining! The best way to stop the cross border terrorism is to clean the area of terrorists no matter which side of the line they are.
    The US and Afghan army always wanted to act like hammer and anvil. They wanted them to crush the terrorists from their side and Pakistan from their side of the border simultaneously. However, Pakistan never went for that and provided sanctuary and safe havens to the terrorists including OBL. I am no military expert but unless both sides act as hammer and anvil and publically announce their time and day of the attack, the terrorists would only diffuse on either side of the long border.
    Instead of playing blame game and being defensive and making excuses, Pakistan must realize that the whole world knows most of the known terrorists were hiding in Pakistan and are caught or killed there. That means the other side is vigilant and doing its job while OBL and his terrorists were having safe havens in Pakistan. Let us get real and move for a change. Recommend

  • omer
    Jul 7, 2011 - 12:41AM

    why is PM of a nuclear power calling and begging mayor of kabul ? he should show some guts and tell afghans clearly that they would be bombed back to the stone age if they do not stop attacking Pakistan. Recommend

  • omer
    Jul 7, 2011 - 1:35AM

    okey so apparently the only way to get your comment posted on tribune is that it should be anti-Pakistan and anti-army ?
    99 percent of comments on your web are anti Pak and anti army and it is not only me who has noticed this fact that our pro Pak and pro army comments are not at all published.

    no wonder american dollars can buy anything. even human souls :)
    thanks for selling out…Recommend

  • syed kashif Hassnain rizvi
    Jul 7, 2011 - 1:45AM

    Both afghan n Pakistan sides are confused cause of usa and india is involved between them. Talibans are paid by usa and usa have several taliban groups to use them as they want. usa throw fire on pakistan n send news in pakistan tht Afghan is throwing and same i guess on other side, usa n india want to make hate between both countries as they are doing on other countries. need to think wiselyn not angerly.Recommend

  • Irshad
    Jul 7, 2011 - 2:13AM

    Pakistan views Afghanistan as its property and wants to have full control over it. The only way to do it is to keep it backward and underdeveloped with no credible government. Just like its own tribal areas. Pakistan just can’t tolerate anyone else doing any business there. Even if Afghans benefit from it. I can see the future so clearly. Baluchistan and Sindh are soon going to leave Pakistan and then what is left will be another landlocked country ruled by some Punjabi Zamindar army general. Afghanistan will be a rich country with vast mineral resources just like its new neighbor balauchistan. While Sindh with Karachi and Hyderabad will be the industrial countries with advanced ports.Recommend

  • Arindom
    Jul 7, 2011 - 2:28AM

    So Pakistan is hit by cross border terrorism?!!!

    Aha – the shoe is firmly on the other foot now!! Enjoy the ride, dear friends!Recommend

  • Khan
    Jul 7, 2011 - 3:40AM

    @Samir:
    “India and Pakistan have the same number of consulates in Afghanistan – 4. They are all in the same cities.”

    You’re either ignorant or myopic … Pakistan is host to over 3 million Afghan refugees from past 32 years … the number surged to 5 million in 2001 .. they live, go to our schools, colleges & universities free of charge… They do businesses without paying any tax …What have they given back to our country in return? I live in UK when was student paid three times more fee than local students now I am working here and paying all my taxes. There is no free lunch any where else in the world. We didn’t attack their country instead we helped them for which they asked and gave shelter to them. UNISECO used to pay $50 each till 2005 … Please enlighten us as to how many afghans are living in India?
    Its like your neighbor house is on fire you help them douse it .. give them shelter and food for decades and when their children are grownup and given few pennies by another neighbor they start hating you? its time we seal the border and kick these refugees out left & right lets see how many Million you are willing to host.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Jul 7, 2011 - 4:10AM

    This is a case of ‘chor machai shor’. The so called cross border raids from Afghan into Pak is warfare between Tehrik-a-taleban Pakistan ( TTP ) and Pak forces. Where does Afganistan come in the picture ? Meanwhile, how is Afghan Taleban and Haqinni brothers doing in Pakistan ? Are they sending men with flower bouquets to Afganistan ?Recommend

  • vasan
    Jul 7, 2011 - 6:06AM

    Irshad: may your prediction come true.
    Khan: I am missing something here. I thought your comment should say something about no of consulates. But it talks about refugees. Should you allow more afghan consulates in Pakistan to attend to them? Pakistan knows how it feels to host millions of refugees, India felt the same in 1971 and took some swift action. Pakistan knows how it feels to be at the receiving end of cross border terrorism. Hope it takes some action now.Recommend

  • Not a Pashtun
    Jul 7, 2011 - 7:42AM

    @ Khan- you guys kicked Afghans out of their houses with the help of crazy arabs and stupid yankees. They had no place to live, naturally came to the next door neighbour. You had to accept them for the sake of Jihad, which was funded by filthy rich arabs ever idotic americans.
    For sure no free lunch in Pakistan also, but the whole dish was eaten by your Army commanders and political elites. Recommend

  • Zeeshan
    Jul 7, 2011 - 7:53AM

    @Irshad
    Pakistan views Afghanistan as its property and wants to have full control over it. The only way to do it is to keep it backward and underdeveloped with no credible government. Just like its own tribal areas. Pakistan just can’t tolerate anyone else doing any business there. Even if Afghans benefit from it. I can see the future so clearly. Baluchistan and Sindh are soon going to leave Pakistan and then what is left will be another landlocked country ruled by some Zamindar. Afghanistan will be a rich country with vast mineral resources just like its new neighbor balauchistan. While Sindh with Karachi and Hyderabad will be the industrial countries with advanced ports.

    Please wake up,enough dreaming
    the facts are very different .Pakistan does not want to be involved “ruling” you guys there but we want a government that is friendly towards us and not bent over backward to accommodate Indian interest thats all .Secondly your suggestion that Sindh will leave us,please dont amuse your self ,go to sindh and you will know what is the situation.They are every bit as pakistani as us and many “analyst” have been predicting for ages and some have even given dates for the split up but it has never happen ,will not happen because the facts are not ther,.yes we have problems with our internally just as anyone would have .same goes for Baluchistan .

    and also please show some respect to the country that is the home 2-3 million of your brethen (Afghans) and not dream of its destruction Recommend

  • r
    Jul 7, 2011 - 8:35AM

    Yes please don’t make Pakistan angry. Or else it will send its army, as mujahedeen, into Afghanistan. Just ask the Indians.
    If the proud holders of nukes try to humble the mayor of kabul, how do you think Uncle and ISAF will react?Recommend

  • Amjad
    Jul 7, 2011 - 8:55AM

    @omer: Maybe you haven’t realized it yet but this blog section is a hotbed for Indians to vent their insecurity against Pakistan. Sometimes they use their real Indian names and sometimes they pretend to be Pakistanis but they don’t fool anyone. India is allied with Afghanistan to cause trouble in Pakistan but they are losing and that’s why they resort to any type of lie and deceit. As for the border between Pak and Afghanistan, it needs to be sealed now to prevent the Afghanis from coming into Pakistan. Recommend

  • sam
    Jul 7, 2011 - 10:03AM

    @Samir:
    im appalled at how uneducated you are on matters of history and world event. pls refrain from spreading the misconceptions in your head… india gave all that cash to afghanistan and yet never dished out any cash to pay ransom for its nationals held captive by pirates.. wow… im sure every indian is damn proud of that….and pls dont tell me about how india has a policy to not pay ransom money.. even most of european countries maintain such a stance,… take the recent case of france.. france maintains the same stance and yet paid the ransom amount….so indias investment inafghanistan is for anythign but philanthorphic reasons…..

    now with reagards to why pakistan didnt dish out cash… pakistan has invested more in fighting teror than india.. lets not even begin to compare itll only put india to shame for her limited controbution……… pakistan invests in fighting terrorists from its own country.. those trained by RAW CIA and MOSAD and those millitants crossing the border or at least trying to from both india and afghanistans side….you can stomp you tiny feet and deny all you wish it makes no difference to us…..because you see as educated pakistanis we are educated enough to admit that yes we have millitants.. but that doesnt mean all millitants operating from pakistan are our bread/trained….Recommend

  • sam
    Jul 7, 2011 - 10:05AM

    @Not a Pashtun:
    wer housing over a million afghan refugees………lets not even begin about who has vested interest in what…Recommend

  • Someone
    Jul 7, 2011 - 10:43AM

    @Irshad….your comment was good comedy; thanks for the laugh. Now, on the serious side, let’s make it clear that unless there is foreign support and funding, Balochistan can never seperate. And why the hell would Sindh become independent? You must be really delusional. The concept of ‘Sindhudesh’ is as dead as Khalistan; in fact Khalistan was an armed resistance movement. The so-called SIndhudesh idea is only ideological and has been in books. If the Sindhis really wanted an independent country, don’t you think they would have picked up arms by now? As long as Karachi remains in Sindh, Sindh can never seperate. So throw that idea into the nearest garbage bin please.

    Lol at the idea of Afghanistan becoming a rich country and sending “aid” to Pakistan. All i can say is….keep dreaming . haha Recommend

  • LayMan
    Jul 7, 2011 - 1:45PM

    @omer:Did they come out of this age even :)Recommend

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