A top military commander was shot in the thigh on Wednesday when his helicopter came under fire.
The attack took place near Swat valley, where troops fought off a Taliban insurgency two years ago. Officials said the general was taking an aerial view of troop deployment.
Major General Javed Iqbal, one of the country’s top commanders in the northwest, was airborne when gunfire from the ground hit his helicopter in the mountainous village of Nusrat Darra in Upper Dir. Security officials had initially said the helicopter was hit in Swat.
“The helicopter is safe. The commander was slightly injured. There was no loss of life,” a senior security official told AFP. Another senior security official in Swat said two bullets hit the helicopter but that it landed safely. A third security official told AFP that a bullet hit the general’s right thigh and he was taken to a military hospital in Rawalpindi.
There was no claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s incident. However, suspicion is likely to be drawn towards militant groups.
In 2009, 30,000 Pakistani troops went into battle against Taliban fighters who for two years had terrorised people with a campaign of beheadings, violence and attacks on girls’ schools in Swat and neighbouring districts.
The army declared that the region was back under control in July of that year and said the rebels had all either been killed or captured, or had fled.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2011.