Dozens of Taliban insurgents armed with rocket launchers attacked a security checkpoint on Sunday in the Akakhel area, triggering a clash that killed at least 15 people, including 10 militants.
The clash took place in Daro Adda, an area in the Bara subdivision of the Khyber Agency inhabited by the Akakhel tribe – a sub-clan of the Afridis, local officials said.
On the night between Saturday and Sunday, over 50 Taliban insurgents armed with sophisticated weapons attacked the checkpoint jointly manned by Levis (tribal police) and a tribal Lashkar (militia).
A policeman and four militiamen were killed in the raid, which was repulsed after an hour, forcing militants to flee.
“Members of the tribal Lashkar and security forces retaliated, killing 10 militants,” Rehan Khattak, assistant political agent of Bara told Reuters. “A large number of weapons from the militants were also confiscated,” he added.
Two intelligence officials in Peshawar confirmed the clash and casualties.
However, the elder of Akakhel militia provided exaggerated casualty figures. “At least 17 militants were killed and 22 wounded in the clashes,” Malik Haji Gul Miran Afridi told The Express Tribune. “We lost only two volunteers and another two were wounded,” he added.
The Lashkar-e-Islam extremist group, led by its notorious commander Mangal Bagh Afridi was controlling Bara before his loyalists were routed in a paramilitary operation nearly three years ago.
“We formed the militia because Mangal Bagh’s men kidnapped local affluent people for ransom and harassed our tribesmen,” Malik Afridi said. “Now, 21 sub-clans of the Akakhel tribe have joined hands with us against the militants,” he added.
The Akakhel militia has set up checkpoints on all four entry and exit points of their villages – where they also patrol the streets at night.
Two days ago, a soldier was killed and four others were wounded when militants detonated explosives planted in a house that the security forces and Jundakhel Lashkar had raided in the Chore area of Jamrud sub-division of the Khyber Agency.
The house belonged to a cousin of local tribal elder Malik Muhammad Hussain who had rented it out to the militants. Malik Hussain was taken into custody under the local collective responsibility law.
(With additional input from Reuters)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2011.
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