The death toll from Saturday’s cross-border attack on paramilitary outposts in Chitral district by Taliban insurgents has risen to 33 as more bodies were retrieved on Sunday. Four troops are said to be still missing.
Sources told The Express Tribune that 24 soldiers of the paramilitary Chitral Scouts, five personnel of the Chitral Border Force and four policemen were killed in the raid. Four security personnel have been missing following the attack.
An uneasy calm prevails since Saturday’s incursion, though late last night, firing was reported in the area. On Sunday morning, US drones flew over Arandu tehsil of Chitral where the attack took place, said a police official from the Arandu police station. District Coordination Officer Rehmatullah Wazir told The Express Tribune that the security situation was under control and security forces were on high alert.
Wazir said security forces may have fired late in the night on suspicion there were militants in the area. “The worst is over and such attacks cannot be carried out regularly,” he added. However, Wazir expressed ignorance over drone flights over Arandu.
The authorities are still retrieving bodies of slain soldiers from remote outposts, he said, implying the death toll might rise. Locals said the entire district was in mourning because the soldiers who were killed were natives and most of them were young. They were laid to rest in their ancestral villages.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2011.