At least 14 security personnel were killed when militants from Afghanistan attacked a paramilitary check post in Lower Dir district, security officials confirmed to The Express Tribune. At least 20 militants were also killed in the gunfight triggered by the attack in Kharkai village in Lower Dir.
The fighting, which began more than 48 hours ago, was continuing on Friday and security forces had taken control of Kharkai village.
“Twenty militants have been killed in the fighting. We have cordoned off the area, regained control of our territory and trapped the retreating militants,” said Brigadier Nadeem Mirza, the Operation In-charge in Lower Dir.
Additional security personnel have been deployed at the entry and exit points of Lower Dir.
Official sources said that the operation would continue until militants were flushed out from the region.
However, they refused to give a timeframe for the operation.
A spokesperson for the Malakand Taliban who calls himself Al-Ahrabi claimed responsibility for the attack. Speaking from an undisclosed location in Afghanistan, he claimed to have burnt three official vehicles targeting security personnel.
“We will continue these attacks from across the border,” he added.
Lower Dir has been used as a route for militants to cross over from the tribal territory of Bajaur and Afghanistan into Malakand Division to mount attacks on security forces.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2011.