Cross-border attack: Taliban militants kill 32 security personnel

Published: August 28, 2011

Men load the coffin of a paramilitary soldier on top of a vehicle, as his body was shifted from a hospital to its burial site in Chitral. PHOTO: REUTERS

PESHAWAR/KARACHI: 

The death toll from the cross-border attack on checkposts in Chitral climbed to 32 on Sunday, as six more bodies of Chitral scouts were recovered.

Exchange of firing between Taliban militants and security forces has been intermittent.

The attack in the Arandu tehsil of Chitral started at around 4am on Saturday, and the fighting continued throughout the day.

Updated from print edition (below)

28 dead as TTP men attack border posts

Hundreds of Pakistani Taliban fighters mounted pre-dawn raids on paramilitary posts in Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday after crossing over from their sanctuary in northeastern Afghanistan, officials said.

At least 28 security personnel were killed in the attack, according to District Coordination Officer (DCO) Rehmatullah Wazir.

Several militant leaders from the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including Maulana Fazlullah and Maulvi Faqir who led the group in Swat and Bajaur, respectively, fled to Afghanistan in the face of army offensives and regrouped with the help of allies to threaten Pakistan’s border regions.

These militants have set up a base in the Sawoo Khwar area, in Damghan district of the Afghan province of Kunar, an intelligence official told The Express Tribune by phone from Dir district.

“Saturday’s attack was organised by Maulana Fazlullah, Maulvi Faqir and their lieutenants Miftakhudin, alias Shabar and Hafizullah, alias Kochwan,” the official said. The TTP’s Malakand chapter has claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to the BBC. The group’s spokesperson Sirajuddin claimed that 70 soldiers were killed in the attack and another seven were seized by the militants.

“The attack was planned in the Barikot village in Kunar province. Over 200 Pakistani fugitive militants, aided by 100 local Afghans crossed over into the Arnavi area of Chitral district around 4am. They had around a dozen horses loaded with arms and ammunition,” the official said.

According to local sources, the outposts of Ursun and Mir Khani were targeted in the limits of Drosh police station and Gudibar, Drashot, Langurbut, Kavti and Akori posts in the limits of the Arandu police station. They added that two personnel of Chitral Scouts – Nazir and Tariq Jala – were missing from Langurbut post after the attack.

“The security personnel defended the posts by engaging the attackers and reportedly 20 terrorists were killed,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

But the intelligence official told The Express Tribune that 10 militants were killed. The fleeing militants took away the bodies of eight of their fallen comrades, while two bodies were taken into custody by the security forces.

The military statement also confirmed that 25 troops – 16 personnel of the paramilitary Chitral Scouts, four policemen and five Levies, or Chitral Border Force – were also killed in the attack. However, Chitral’s DCO Rehmatullah Wazir put the death toll at 28 dead and seven injured. A local source told The Express Tribune that the death toll could be higher because there was no word about 40 troops at the remote Akori post. However, there was no official confirmation of that.

The attack in the Arandu tehsil of Chitral started at around 4am, and the fighting continued throughout the day. A security official in Peshawar said the fighting has stopped, but the security forces are still combing the area for the militants. They have also dynamited two bridges to thwart possible militant movement in the cover of the darkness.

Nato troops, Afghan army faulted

The statement accused the US-led Nato troops and the Afghan National Army (ANA) of not acting on its intelligence against militants, who are launching cross-border raids into Pakistan territory from the Afghan side.

“Due to scanty presence of Nato and ANA forces along the Pak-Afghan border, the terrorists are using these areas as safe havens and have mounted repeated attacks against security forces posts and isolated villages of Pakistan,” the statement said.

Since their expulsion from Swat, Dir and Bajaur, “the terrorists have organised themselves in Kunar and Nuristan provinces with the support of local Afghan authorities,” it said.

When approached, Ghulab Majnoon, a senior official at Afghan embassy in Islamabad, refused to comment saying he was not authorised to speak on the matter while the ambassador was present in the mission. However, the ambassador could not be reached despite repeated attempts.

The governor of Nuristan province denied any official support network for TTP in his province. “These are Pakistani Taliban who have been mounting cross-border attacks in Pakistani border villages,” Tameem Nuristani told The Express Tribune by phone from Nuristan. He pointed out that around a month ago the Pakistani Taliban had colluded with the Afghan Taliban and attacked Afghan police, killing around 35 people.

Demarche issued

The Afghan charge d’affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office and a protest was lodged over the ‘attacks from Kunar and Nuristan against seven Pakistani check posts in Chitral. “The Afghan charge d’affaires was conveyed the imperative of establishing peace and tranquillity in the border region and effectively dealing with terrorists,” said a statement issued from the Foreign Office.

Musa Arifi assured Pakistan that his country would investigate the attack. “The Afghan deputy ambassador conveyed condolences to the Pakistani government over the losses of lives and assured investigation into the incident,” an Afghan embassy official told The Express Tribune, requesting anonymity. The Afghan embassy has informed the Afghan foreign ministry about Islamabad’s protest which will come out with a formal reply.

The frequency of incursions by Taliban has increased over the past few months as militants from the Afghan side launched brazen attacks in Upper and Lower Dir districts, and Bajaur and Mohmand tribal agencies.

(With additional input by Tahir Khan in Islamabad)

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.

Reader Comments (19)

  • Harinder
    Aug 28, 2011 - 10:47AM

    Pakistan may turn into Somali or Afghanistan in 50 years from now.

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  • Shah Zalmay Khan
    Aug 28, 2011 - 11:23AM

    One’s heart weeps at this Butchery of Muslims at the hands of “Supposed Muslims”.
    Condolences to the bereaved families.
    But I fail to understand why the Lightly-Armed and inadequately-trained Scouts and Border Police are exposed to the seasoned militant fighters, on the border outposts. Its time the regular Army troops are stationed at all outposts bordering Kunar and Nooristan.
    Dont expect NATO or Afghan Army to stop these militants from launching attacks into Pakistan. The GLOVE would never want the HAND to be harmed. The analogy fits.
    BTW: What happened to the GREAT suggestion of Mining and fencing the Afghan Border (at least in the HOT AREAS)? That is the ultimate solution to this menace of cross-border attacks.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Aug 28, 2011 - 12:13PM

    Now its double trouble for Pakistan ie Pak and Afghan Taleban joining hands and mounting attacks on Pak outposts ringing warning bells of things to come in the near future. Such a scenario had already been predicted by the Western defence analysts after the withdrawl of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan but the terror outfits including the strategic assets have preponed it to put more pressure on Pakistan for its talebanisation.

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  • Sajjad
    Aug 28, 2011 - 1:34PM

    Condolences to families of those killed.I agree with Shah Zalmay Khan’s viewpoint.

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  • MUNIB
    Aug 28, 2011 - 1:57PM

    all PAK channels are propagating ISPR’s view and saying “Afghan Taliban” attacked PAK border , wherewas the actual truth being these are our own “children” which PAK army allowed to escape from Sawat operation (fooling people with x-killed news in tickers at that time ) and they have attacked PAK border from AFG so why PAK is crying like a child? WHY our pak ARMY doesnt contain its children ?

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  • Saleem
    Aug 28, 2011 - 2:48PM

    These attacks are so strikingly similar to the one’s Pakistan conducted on India ( specially Kashmir ) all these years. I suspect the tables have turned. The sole superpower of today i.e. the USA seem to have decided to do a “PAKISTAN” to Pakistan. I don’t see this as an isolated incident.Though i also do not think this policy of proxy war has been given a green signal. This incident of incursion and such others in the last one year or so from Afghanistan into Pakistan are sort of warning shots being fired. Pakistan is being threatened to fall in line. If Pakistan would not comply soon this will be a regular phenomenon. I don’t see a India or an Afghanistan behind this. They simply cannot do anything in Afghanistan without the US nod.This, i believe, is all done by the US. Muscle flexing has always been the US way of going about resistance. Lets see through to broadly understand what led to this.

    1

    Pakistan provides shelter to Osama Bin Laden, Aiman al Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, the Haqqani Network …………………….. and the list is really a long one BUT acts decisively and is always ready to do more on the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.

    2

    Pakistan milks the USA of aid for war against terror. With one hand it receives aid from the USA for its participation in the war on terror while with the other hand provides just enough aid , training and infrastructure to the terrorists so that the war on terror can never be won. This is like frying the fish in its own oil.

    3

    Pakistan ran a secret nuclear Walmart.After going nuclear it traded the bomb blue print for delivery systems from North Korea and also tries to trade such technology blue prints with Iran, Libya etc

    4

    Pakistan has blackmailed the US on the US supply lines to Afghanistan that passes through Pakistan.

    5

    Pakistan is an anti-status-quo power. It give nuclear threats, frequently precipitates serious crisis under a dark nuclear shadow. It is the most important strategic ally of the prime anti-status-quo power in today’s world i.e. China. Pakistan has the fastest expanding nuclear weapons program in the whole world with a no first use policy. Pakistan actively seeks and has deployed tactical nuclear weapons aiming India which itself is a nuclear power. It is a foreign policy annoyance for the sole superpower who would like to maintain the status-quo.

    6

    Pakistan threatens to dump the US on being exposed about sheltering terrorists, extremists and on the failed attempt to fool and milk away the US of aid ( both civilian and military ) on the war on terror. It seeks to pit China against the US as a strategic balance. Such blatant threat and rejection is sure to anger the US.

    USA is the sole superpower today. Pakistan till now has threatened it indirectly to take it on. They probably sought some elbow room against the US. The US has turned back to confront Pakistan. If Pakistan surrenders now it will be reduced to a US pet. If it confronts it would be interesting to see how far china stands by Pakistan. This will surely be a historic confrontation.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Aug 28, 2011 - 6:51PM

    According to Imran Khan when the American’s depart everything will magically get better — well the American’s departed the Afghan/Pak border and it would appear that things got worse. Go figure.
    .
    BTW – it’s not NATO’s job to defend your border – you have an army I suggest you use it.

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  • Gulraz
    Aug 29, 2011 - 1:35AM

    @Munib and @ Saleem – You Indian trolls need to understand that once India leaves Afghanistan all terrorism will come to an end. India’s back door terror machine has cost both the US and Pakistan dearly and India ought to be held responsible for this . . . . The key to peace is – Afghanistan waking up and kicking out Indian terror offices from Afghanistan or Pakistan to take charge and do the cleaning itself.

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  • Romm
    Aug 29, 2011 - 2:38AM

    Indian’s comments reflect how dirty are they!

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  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Aug 29, 2011 - 4:31AM

    Where are Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Imran Khan, Amir Hussain and Moulana Fazal-ur-Rehman who keep on saying that everything would be fine in Pakistan and Afghanistan once the Americans left the region? The Taliban are launching attacks from the areas (Noristan etc.) vacated by the U.S and NATO forces as they are trimming down their presence in Afghanistan. Once drone attacks are halted and Afghanistan is fully vacated by US forces, Taliban would attempt to conquer not only Afghanistan but also Pakistan giving reality to the dreams of these guys who otherwise can’t ascend to power in Pakistan through democratic means.

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  • Double decker
    Aug 29, 2011 - 8:20AM

    @RS Johar and@Saleem – You Indians ought to be grateful for enjoying the freedom of speech at our Pakistani Express Tribune site that we Pakistanis are so proud of. We Pakistanis are sharp enough to know that . . . India is a double crosser . . . . .it creates terrorists in Afghanistan and rolls them out into Pakistan . . . .then turns around points fingers at Pakistan. This double crossing strategy of India has proven to be very costly to both Pakistan and US who have been making huge sacrifices in fighting these Indian engineered terrorists. Only Pakistan has that super tactical intelligence to fully understand the Indian terror game before any one else can even fathom. . . . . India will be held accountable regardless . . . .

    Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Aug 29, 2011 - 8:56AM

    This game has really turned a corner now.

    Pakistan’s Territory was used by the Terrorists to launch attack on NATO. US asked Pakistan to take control of its own Territory(a reasonable demand) but Pakistan chose to ignore it.

    Now, US got fed up and said, “Well, 2 can play that game”. It took out its forces from certain areas where now TTP fled to, where it launches attack from.

    Now, Pakistan is asking the US to take control of those Territories, but the US is saying-”You first!”.

    You are dealing with the World’s most ‘chalu’ Country. No wonder it is and has been the World’s sole Superpower for well over 100 years. They destroyed another superpower(USSR) without firing a single bullet. Do Pakistanis think they can outsmart the it?

    Recommend

  • Saleem
    Aug 29, 2011 - 6:32PM

    @Double decker: As far as your comment on Express Tribune goes i thank the management for creating such an open forum. The Express Tribune as a good media house and i respect and thank them for the way they do their work including the opportunity to post comments here. Whenever Indians and Pakistanis interact we actually gain more understanding of each other. This is all very good.

    As far as your comment on India is concerned India as a country acts on the wish and interests of Indian only. The authorities here are not answerable to any other people and should not care about what Pakistanis like or dislike. You did try to force us to take your concerns into consideration by doing what you all did in Kashmir, Punjab etc. etc. You are still continuing such activities but you all know very well how much success did that all bring to you.

    You are free to follow your interests and we will definitely follow ours. Nobody is a saint over here. Nobody is a devil either. We are adversaries. So please stop crying foul play. It will always make you look silly. India is considered to be a formidable positive force in the world order. Pakistan and China are her adversaries.Recommend

  • Saleem
    Aug 29, 2011 - 7:08PM

    @Gulraz:
    Nobody leaves just like that. Will Pakistan leave all those places where it is in. Lets not get into all that. Let your government prove first that we are doing things against you from your west.Isn’t it a fact that the Pakistani government have not made it a prime issue in the bilateral dialogue that we are right now having. Nobody speaks on these lines from your side anymore. You tried in vain to do so sometime back in Sharm-el-Sheikh. Your authorities have more than once complained to USA and other western countries on our hand it Balochistan, TTP etc. Everybody says your authorities do not have any proof to show in support of your allegation.

    You have said that US is bearing the cost of Indian back door terror activities in Afghanistan. But do you know the US considers India as a strategic ally. Obama in his last visit to India said that the Indo-US partnership will be the most defining relationship in the future world order. If you are to be believed then the US think tank is missing out on something. Why don’t you and Pakistan tell them and open their eyes ? Do that and you will earn their favour. Its so simple you know.

    Be assured that Pakistan has tried every trick of the trade to stop the Indo-US partnership. It has failed. You had your time friend. You sun is now setting.

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  • Saleem
    Aug 29, 2011 - 7:14PM

    @Romm:

    An Indian will always be like that in the eyes of a Pakistani. I will not increase the bitterness by posting what we think about you. Lets pray for more calm in future.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Aug 29, 2011 - 8:37PM

    @Double decker:
    I am afraid your analysis is quite wrong. ,FirstlyTTP a home grown organisation, was earlier patronised by the state but later abondoned and military operations were launched against this outfit and it took refuge in Afghanistan. TTP whose infrastructure is still intact is retaliating ferociously and challenging the state again whereas India has nothing to do with it. Secondly Afghan Taleban who are the prized assets of the state, appear to have developed some differences with the military recently, have joined TTP and attacked Pak border outposts. Please do not drag India into this since it cannot support any terror organisation with whom it would have to deal subsequently.

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  • Romm
    Aug 30, 2011 - 12:43AM

    @so called vSaleem
    my point is that when there is attack in India, u wont find any sarcastic comments from Pakistanis the way, indies are oozing out venom. its nothing but thousands of years of Depriviation. Indies need to behave like civilized race.

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  • BruteForce
    Aug 30, 2011 - 9:58PM

    @Romm:

    Probably because the monster that is hunting them was given birth to hunt us by Pakistanis. Kind of a ‘ha-ha’ feeling we get when and if we think about it.

    To top that many in Pakistan refuse to believe India nor US is not behind these Terrorist attacks just makes it easier.

    Recommend

  • Romm
    Aug 30, 2011 - 10:21PM

    @Bruteforce
    U sound immature. So no further comments.Recommend

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