The death toll from Wednesday’s militant attack ona joint police and Levies check post in Shiltalao area of Upper Dir has risen to 30, according to DCO Ghulam Muhammad.
The dead include three civilians. One woman and two policemen have been injured during the skirmishes and have been shifted to the Barawal hospital. Security forces said over 40 militants were also killed in the clashes.
Skirmishes had been going on for 24 hours in a village in Dir region, Ghulam Mohammad Khan, a top local government official, said by telephone.
“We are preparing to evacuate 25 bodies from the village,” he said, referring to police and paramilitary forces killed in the fighting that spread to a forest.
Khan said he had no figures on militant casualties.
Dir police official Dawar Ali said army troops had arrived in the area to support security forces. He said more details on the battles were hard to come by because communications had broken down in the area.
The militants had arrived in a pre-dawn operation on Wednesday dressed in military uniforms and killed one policeman.
Updated from print edition (below)
Upper Dir: Militants attack border check post, killing seven
At least seven security officials were killed, and several injured, when militants attacked a joint police and Levies check post in Shiltalao area of Upper Dir, close to the Pak-Afghan border.
The attack is the latest in a series of cross-border attacks, where militants from Afghanistan cross over and attack Pakistani check posts, said a security official.
A bridge connecting the area with Sunai Darra was also blown up by the militants to impede the flow of additional troops that were called in.
Two schools in the area were also blown up, according to Frontier Corps sources, but locals put the number of schools damaged at four. The number could not be officially confirmed because the operation is still in progress.
Gunship helicopters targeted militants who had taken control of the area and the number of casualties is expected to rise.
“We are trying to establish connection with the post, but it’s a far-flung area. What can be confirmed at the moment is that the operation is still going on,” said the Dir media centre.
Police sources confirmed that three security personnel managed to escape the attack while the driver of a police mobile was killed when a rocket hit the van. Locals said that two men and a woman were killed while two militants were sighted fleeing from the area.
Ali Said, a resident of Sro Kalay, told The Express Tribune that security was tightened late Tuesday night and a large number of police were seen till around 1:00 am. “The attack took place at around 3:00 am after which heavy firing was heard,” he added.
A person by the name of Al-Ahrabi, calling himself the spokesperson for the Malaknad Taliban, called reporters from an unknown location and claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We’ve targeted a large number of security officials and blown up eight schools,” he said, vowing to carry on such attacks.
Earlier this year in April, militants attacked a paramilitary check post in the bordering village of Kharkai in Lower Dir, killing 14 security personnel and injuring several others. Since then, security has been put on high alert in the district, particularly in the border areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2011.