Two volunteers of a peace militia were killed and eight civilians were injured as a synchronised cross-border attack by militants on two Pakistani check posts was repulsed in an area along the border with Afghanistan.
Security forces claim to have killed at least five marauding militants while chasing them across the border into northeastern Afghanistan.
Around 300 militants crossed the Pak-Afghan border late Thursday night and attacked Chachagai village in Salarzai tehsil of Bajaur Agency, Lt Col Muhammad Arif told journalists on Friday.
The militants fired a salvo of rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and mortar shells at security check posts in the Barawal area of Upper Dir district.
The militants stormed into Chachagai village which is close to the Pashat area on the confluence of Bajaur-Upper Dir border and forced the residents to flee, according to Lt Col Arif.
The militants randomly fired mortar shells at populated areas in Kharkai village. As a result three civilians were wounded, he added. “The injured were rushed to the District Headquarters Hospital.”
While the assault was ongoing, militants mounted an attack in the Batwar and Bigal areas of Salarzai tehsil.
The local Salarzai peace militia and Levies personnel engaged the attackers in a battle before security forces called in aerial support.
Two members of the Salarzai peace militia – Zarif Khan and his son Ahmad Khan – were killed in the fighting while his wife and four more people were injured.
Army helicopter gunships soon became airborne and bombed the militant positions. “Several militants were killed in the air blitz,” a security official told The Express Tribune without giving the exact figure.
Riaz Khan, the medical superintendent of the Agency Headquarters Hospital Khar, said they have received five injured people. Two of them are said to be in a critical condition.
A spokesperson for the Malakand chapter of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the cross-border incursions.
Speaking to media from an undisclosed location, the spokesperson claimed that none of their fighters was killed in the attack. He claimed that they have inflicted heavy casualties on the security forces. The militants routinely give exaggerated tolls in their attacks.
Separately, mortar shells were fired from across the border at Olai check post in Baizai sub-division of Mohmand Agency.
The political administration confirmed that the mortar shells landed in a mountainous area but did not cause any casualties.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2012.