Cross-border attacks: Troops reinforcement likely on Kunar border

Published: August 29, 2011
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Officials say troops may relocate from tribal areas.

Officials say troops may relocate from tribal areas.

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan might relocate a ‘significant number’ of troops from the lawless tribal areas to man its border towns along Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nuristan provinces to stop the increasing cross-border incursions by al Qaeda-affiliated Taliban, officials have said.

The move is expected to add further complications to Islamabad’s troubled relations with Washington which have, of late, been calling for more deployment in the tribal badlands to combat militants it blamed for attacks on international forces in Afghanistan. A top military official told The Express Tribune on Sunday that authorities had already ordered reinforcing border checkpoints in Chitral and Dir districts after a brazen attack by militants allegedly based in Kunar.

Close to 30 security personnel were killed and some other were missing after approximately 300 armed militants mounted an audacious attack inside Pakistan’s Chitral district on Saturday morning. It was one of several incursions by Taliban from Afghanistan into Pakistan in recent months, forcing Pakistani military authorities to take extra measures to protect areas along the porous and mostly unprotected border.

A huge number of Pakistani Taliban took refuge in Nuristan and Kunar provinces in eastern Afghanistan after they were flushed out from Bajaur tribal district and Swat valley through military operations in 2009. Pakistani officials said that it had also been decided to intensify aerial surveillance of the border to put in place an early warning mechanism in case of militants’ movement from Afghanistan towards Pakistan.

The official, who wished not to be named, added that helicopter gunships and troops will be on standby to react if they were given signals.

When asked, he refused to give the exact number of troops being deployed in Dir and Chitral districts and the areas in tribal regions from where they were being relocated, saying it would be tantamount to revealing ‘operational details’ of a new security policy.

Around 100,000 troops are deployed in the tribal areas to combat Taliban. Though the official did not mention if North Waziristan was among the areas from where troops were being relocated, it might cause more bitterness in Pak-US ties.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Shah Zalmay Khan
    Aug 29, 2011 - 11:45AM

    If true, this will be a welcome move for countering the growing cross-border incursions into Pakistan, from Afghanistan (Kunar and Nooristan).
    It will be a befitting tit-for-tat for NATO, “You expose our troops to militants by leaving Nooristan and Kunar; we will expose yours in Khost, Paktia and Helmand by leaving North Waziristan”.
    Enough is Enough. We can not tolerate butchery of our soldiers any more.

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  • woohoo
    Aug 29, 2011 - 5:34PM

    I dont want to come across as being insensitive, but, as an Indian, Pakistan fighting cross-border terrorism sounds oxymoronic.

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  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Aug 29, 2011 - 7:11PM

    Where are Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Imran Khan, Amir Hussain and Moulana Fazal-ur-Rehman who keep on saying that everything would be fine in Pakistan and Afghanistan once the Americans left the region? The Taliban are launching attacks from the areas (Noristan etc.) vacated by the U.S and NATO forces as they are trimming down their presence in Afghanistan. Once drone attacks are halted and Afghanistan is fully vacated by US forces, Taliban would attempt to conquer not only Afghanistan but also Pakistan giving reality to the dreams of these guys who otherwise can’t ascend to power in Pakistan through democratic means.

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  • Cautious
    Aug 29, 2011 - 7:22PM

    “Around 100,000 troops are deployed in the tribal areas to combat Taliban.”

    One wonders what these troops are actually doing because it’s pretty clear that Pakistan still doesn’t control much/most of this area. You don’t read anything about major battles nor significant Taliban casualties. Moving troops that are not confronting the Taliban to the border isn’t going to offend the USA – the USA wants you to confront the Taliban and a confrontation at the border is better than nothing.

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  • Someone
    Aug 29, 2011 - 7:47PM

    Ha! Take that. In your face, NATO and Afghanistan!

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  • Tony
    Aug 29, 2011 - 9:59PM

    It is interesting to outsiders when we read about the problems facing Pakistan at varying levels. The British moved into the sub-continent a few hundred years ago and almost immediately commenced a divide and conquer policy between Moslems and Hindus. It was very successful and two similar, intelligent groups of people with different religions have been at odds with each other ever since.

    This was not very good for Pakistan, but it became worse when America wanted to make trouble for the Russians who had occupied Afghanistan. The U.S. created, or encouraged and financed Al Qaeda, and the poor old Taliban was somewhere in the middle. With all the finance and military equipment from America, Al Qaeda went from strength to strength, and sent the Russians home with their tails between their legs.

    Unfortunately for Pakistan, America, for reasons unknown to anyone, decided to punish the Taliban when All Qaeda (a sub branch of the CIA ) decided to do disagreeable things to America. The U.S. moved into Afghanistan, removed the Taliban Government from office about 10 years ago and there has been a donnybrook ever since with Pakistan being caught between the U.S. and the Taliban.

    The upshot of all this is that Pakistan is now walking a a diplomatic tightrope of hostility between India on one side and the U.S., Al Qaeda, Taliban triumvirate on the other. Pakistan never really knows where the terrorists are going to plant a bomb, regardless of whether it will be in India, Afghanistan or Pakistan, but always seems to get the blame. Pakistan has my sympathy.

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