PESHAWAR: Four suicide bombers attacked the headquarters of security forces in Lower Dir early Monday morning, killing one soldier, military sources said.
According to a statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), militants attacked a heavily-guarded post in Timergarh but the attempt was foiled and all the assailants were killed. Seven soldiers who were injured in the attack were taken to a hospital in Peshawar.
Security sources told The Express Tribune that attackers opened fire at the troops manning the gate of the base. The militants were travelling in two vehicles, packed with around a hundred kilogrammes of explosives.
A curfew was immediately imposed in the Balambat area following the incident, and the busiest markets of Timergarh remained deserted all day. Sources said that the curfew would likely be imposed throughout the district from 9 pm to 5:30 am and search operations may be conducted.
Meanwhile, leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Lower Dir chapter Hafeezullah has claimed responsibility for the attack. Speaking from an unidentified location, Hafeezullah said that there were six attackers and two of them had returned safely. The combat, he said, ran for some three hours. In the same message, he also claimed responsibility for last month’s attack at a Levies checkpost that killed two men.
In a chilling message to those who send girls to schools and colleges, Hafeezullah warned that people who disobeyed their orders would face severe punishment. “We used to blow up schools, now we will target the girls studying in these schools if they do not quit by August 5,” he said.
Hafeezullah, 28, carries a bounty of Rs 500,000 on his head. He hails from Nihag Darra area of Upper Dir and was trained by a banned militant outfit.
DCO Lower Dir Ghulam Muhammad said that he was not aware of any such message. “We have not received any information but if such a situation arises, we will definitely use all available resources to protect the schools and its students,” he said.
Lower Dir was one of the first districts of the Malakand Division where Operation Black Thunder was launched. The operation was then expanded to Swat, Buner and Shangla. Analysts believe that peace in the area is directly related to law and order in the adjacent Bajaur Agency, which has long served as a transit route for militants moving between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2010.