Khyber Agency killings: Military claims ‘friendly fire’ killed 13

Published: March 30, 2011
Officers and personnel of security forces offer prayers for their colleagues during their funeral in Peshawar. PHOTO: AFP

Officers and personnel of security forces offer prayers for their colleagues during their funeral in Peshawar. PHOTO: AFP


Contrary to earlier reports on an attack on security forces in Khyber Agency, military commander Lieutenant General Asif Yasin Malik claimed on Tuesday that the deaths had been a result of ‘friendly fire’.

Late on Monday night it was reported that 14 people had been killed in Bara area of Khyber Agency in a militant ambush on a security forces’ convoy.

But at the funeral prayers of the slain soldiers in Peshawar, Malik told reporters that 13 soldiers, including two senior officers, died when a mortar shell fired as the cover missed its target and landed where the troops were located.

General Malik said that the mortar cover was asked for by the troops themselves, after they came under attack from militants. “When our soldiers came under fire, the commanding officer called mortar fire twice. The second mortar missed its target and hit our own soldiers,” Malik said.

“There is a possibility of error in mortar fire when troops are themselves under fire,” he said.

“Troops were conducting a routine search and cordon operation in the area on information that militants who were threatening Peshawar’s security had gathered in the area,” he said.

He said that there were deaths and arrests of militants during this operation but offered no details. WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Hedgefunder
    Mar 30, 2011 - 12:24PM

    This is not the view shared in western press !! regardless loss of life is paramount and
    sincere sympathy with families of men concernd.Recommend

    Mar 30, 2011 - 11:28PM

    I am afraid that I dont agree with army’s version that 14 armymen died in friendly fire ie morter shells which defies logic. The military is clearly trying to cover up to avoid its embarassment since ambush was carried-out by its own prodigy ie Mangal group. Military must review their policy of supporting terror groups who will all ultimately train their guns on their mentors.Recommend

  • Jahan
    Mar 31, 2011 - 1:26AM

    For how long will we bury our brothers. All Pakistani, of every province, should keep an eye on extremists and foreigners in their areas. And Army should also perfect their mortar firing.Recommend

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