In a bizarrely unheard of situation, dozens of Afghan militants crossed into Kalash Valley in Chitral on Friday, made off with a herd of goats and kidnapped a shepherd.
According to an official of the Chitral Scouts, the militants came from the Nuristan province of Afghanistan. The official had rushed to the site and chased the militants up to the border, following the incursion. He added that the militants attacked the Dobazha pastures in the morning and took away around 700 goats with them.
“They also kidnapped a shepherd identified as Abd Khun, a resident of Kara Kaarh area of Bamboret in Kalash for resisting them,” he said.
He added that before the arrival of the scouts, the residents of the area also followed the militants in an effort to release the herds and the shepherd. But the residents said that the militants had crossed the border immediately and had also killed at least 20 goats.
They expressed concern over the continuous border incursions of militants into the Garmai pastures of Bamboret, the stealing of their herds and kidnappings of shepherds. They demanded security forces in Chitral to stop living in the plains and move to their check posts in the mountains to guard the borders.
According to a local resident, armed residents of Bamboret often chased after the militants, crossing the border into Afghanistan and had previously been successful in securing their stolen livestock and kidnapped shepherds.
Pakistani security officials have previously stated that militants from banned outfits, who have found a safe haven in Afghanistan, have sporadically carried out attacks on security forces in Pakistan. Pakistani government officials have repeatedly urged the Afghan government to take action against cross-border attacks and militant factions who have targeted security forces and civilians. However, the Afghan government has denied the incursions, blaming instead Pakistan for violating its border.
Both countries have claimed they would work on these issues and would put pressure on the militants that operate along the border to put an end to incursions.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.