Cross-border raid: Demarche delivered after Dir raid leaves 75 dead

Published: June 3, 2011
Hundreds of militants from Afghanistan attack checkpoint in a long, vicious gun battle. PHOTO: FILE

Hundreds of militants from Afghanistan attack checkpoint in a long, vicious gun battle. PHOTO: FILE


Pakistan issued a sharp diplomatic rebuke to Afghanistan on Thursday after hundreds of Afghan Taliban militants crossed over into its territory, attacked Shaltalu checkpoint in the northwestern district of Upper Dir and sparked a long and fierce gun battle. At least 27 security personnel and three civilians were killed in a battle with the intruding militants, officials said.

Some 45 militants were also killed in a joint operation of the paramilitary troops and police, said Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Inspector General of Police Fayaz Toru.

The battle lasted more than 36 hours and was concentrated around the Shaltalu police checkpoint, surrounded by mountains and forest of Upper Dir, about six kilometres from the border with Afghanistan’s Kunar province.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Toru, who visited Upper Dir, said that there were initial reports of around 200 militants whose movement was reported from Kunar, Afghanistan. “Our men were well equipped, but the number of militants turned out to be over a thousand. They fired rockets at an explosives dump, causing chaos.”

“Some of the police personnel took refuge in a mosque after engaging the militants for more than two hours till they ran out of ammunition. The imam of the mosque was killed by the militants, after which, the security personnel were tied up in the mosque and tortured. Their nails were pulled out and they were inhumanly killed,” he added. FC sources said that the mosque was also later destroyed and several copies of the Holy Quran were also desecrated.

Eleven levies, twelve police and four FC personnel were killed during the operation, according to government officials. Three of the civilian casualties, included a woman and two men. Two constables identified as Liaquat Muhammad and Khayal Muhammad were taken to a hospital in Upper Dir with severe injuries.

“Several militants were targeted by shelling through helicopter gunships, however, they managed to escape to a location on a mountain where the operation is still being carried out” said Toru.

Local police officials confirmed that two schools, a primary and middle school, were totally destroyed. “The Shaltalu checkpoint was also destroyed along with several other houses whose rooftops were razed to the ground by the heavy fighting that took place, said an official , who monitored the security of the area with the help of a helicopter. “Although the area was under the control of the security forces, it was still not totally cleared.” he added.

The attack was carried out by Hafizullah, the leader of the Taliban in Dir. A spokesperson for the Malakand Taliban, calling himself al Ahrabi, claimed responsibility for the attack. Speaking to reporters from an unknown location in Afghanistan, he said: “We will continue such attacks in the future. Most of our men have successfully retreated. However, some are still in the area and fighting.”

The areas of Upper Dir, particularly Bin Shahi, have been a bone of contention for the Pakistani authorities, who have long believed that the route from Kunar towards Pakistan has often been used for cross border terrorism.

The Pakistan government has conveyed its concern to Afghanistan over the cross-border attack. “The foreign secretary has conveyed concern to the ambassador of Afghanistan over the cross-border attack launched from the territory of Afghanistan in Dir by some 300 to 400 militants who attacked villages and burnt schools,” said a Foreign Office statement. However, the statement did not say if the Afghan envoy was summoned to the Foreign Office.

The foreign secretary stressed the need for stern action by the Afghan army, US and Nato/Isaf forces in the area against militants and their hideouts in Afghanistan and against organisational support for the militants. “Pakistan’s concerns are also being brought to the attention of the US and Nato,” it added.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Cautious
    Jun 3, 2011 - 8:14AM

    I suspect the Afgan Ambassador had trouble keeping a straight face when Pakistan tried to lecture him about cross border terrorism.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 3, 2011 - 8:47AM

    If we keep sitting on our hands, then the terrorists would continue their onslaught against Pakistanis. Either we go get them or remain sitting ducks. Why do we have about half a million army with all the expensive war toys if we cannot even defend our borders or implement the writ of Pakistan, in its own land? I guess the death of 35,000 Pakistanis is not enough to call for an action?Recommend

  • Maria
    Jun 3, 2011 - 9:16AM

    These foreign criminals need to be dealt with firmly. We can clearly see that India is using their lackeys in Afghanistan to send over criminals and terrorists. Why doesn’t the world condemn their actions? They have been brainwashed by Indian and Afghani propaganda. Shame on our Foreign Ministry for not arguing Pakistan’s case more forcefully. Now is the time to build a big wall between Pakistan and Afghanistan to keep these criminals out.Recommend

  • mind control
    Jun 3, 2011 - 9:45AM

    Looks like Taliban is seeking ‘strategic depth’ in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ba Ha
    Jun 3, 2011 - 9:51AM

    Poor Americans. They did not know about this massive buildup, otherwise they would not have allowed it to happenRecommend

  • Asmat Jamal
    Jun 3, 2011 - 10:58AM

    Still we house 4 million Afghan refugees. Why and what for? We should not come in the trap of UNHCR which wants the extension for the refugees every time the time for their departure comes for the UNHCR sponsored Afghan Refugees (alias : TERRORISTS). For God sake take them away to Afghanistan.
    If you have such a great love for them, better take them along. After all there are 35 countries in Afghanistan. One million refugees taken by each country will resolve the problem. Pakistan should not fall in the trap of UNHCR. Most of UNHCR staff is interested to save their jobs and get donations which are pocketed by the concerned Pakistani bureaucracy and international organization. These unaccounted savage hordes are let loose in the streets of Pakistan. They are a drain on health, education and jobs of Pakistani nationals. These illegal refugees are mostly involved in crimes, have made gangs and barge into private properties. They are a curse of God on Pakistan. They are a reason for talibization and destabilization in Pakistan, and most of the terrorists cross the border in the garb of a refugees. They are also creating reason for the western powers for defamation and will use it as a reason to attack Pakistan.
    I have a hunch that they will lead to civil war in Pakistan and convert Pakistan into Somalia.
    Pakistan Government please for once think of Pakistan. UNHCR and UNO are no friends of Pakistan .Recommend

  • Khalid Rahim
    Jun 3, 2011 - 11:48AM

    Let us wait for an answer from the top leadership of Taliban Mullah Umar himself whether it
    was endorsed by him or he strongly refutes and condemns the raid.If this media presents a
    statement showing that he endorsed the attack it would be incorrect, for we all know who was really behind this operation.Recommend

  • Arvind
    Jun 3, 2011 - 11:59AM

    @ Ba Ha, FYI this attack was not on USA it was on Pakistan´s territory. Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Jun 3, 2011 - 6:55PM

    @Maria…well ma’am, kindly grow up.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 3, 2011 - 9:49PM

    @Maria: In your big lecture to the neighbors and the world, there is no mention of half a million strong (or weak in this case) army. What do we have them for? When they cannot even deal with Indian agents, how can they deal with the whole Indian or Afghan army? No amount of double talk would cover the cowardice and laziness of Pakistani army, whose primary job is to defend Pakistani borders even if your argument is true that these are all foreign agents and not Pakistanis. One piece of advise, if you think the whole world is wrong, that means you are wrong. Instead of being a military tout to protect the real criminals who are protecting OBL and like, open your eyes and smell the coffee. . Recommend

  • Masood Zaidi
    Jun 4, 2011 - 12:49AM


    Please think beyond India bashing and you guys will begin to see the correct solution to this problems. Best of luck.Recommend

  • Jun 4, 2011 - 7:49AM

    Asmat Jamal:

    If those refugees are a curse from God, doesn’t that mean you aren’t as worthy as you believe after all? Isn’t your complaining technically defying God’s will?

    Someone hit him with that visionary and civilized blasphemy law.

    Oh, and guess what. Refugees are humans too. Humans your people have allowed through your own inaction to be condemned to misery just because you refuse to face reality. Is it only Pakistani people that are allowed to claim the title of those who have been harmed and are entitled to a place to call home?

    Selfish. And here I see so many complaining about these attacks and wanting help but never seem to want to do their part. You request help while calling refugees trash. The world should just abandon you and let you burn.Recommend

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