Beefing up security: After successive attacks, military to safeguard highway

Decision was taken after two attacks on security forces in May killed many.

Riaz Ahmad June 02, 2013
Decision was taken after two attacks on security forces in May killed many. PHOTO: FILE


Security forces have been deployed along the main Indus Highway in Mattani after an increase in attacks by militants on security forces and law enforcement agencies in the area. Several check posts were set up along the main road from Speena Thana Darra Adam Khel to Mattani bypass, dotting a 10-kilometre-long area.

Locals told The Express Tribune the forces had been deployed alongside police officials in some areas, but in other check posts, armed forces will hold their own.

“They are removing bushes in the area as these bushes provide an easy hiding place for militants and are ideal for an ambush,” said Haji Asad a Mattani elder

Residents have been asked not to come near the check posts after sundown. Security forces are now in control of the entire locality, according to Asad.

A Mattani police official explained the decision to bring in the armed forces was taken after militants attacked an army convoy in Sara Khwara on the evening of May 16. Two soldiers died and three others were injured in this attack.

This incident was followed by another on May 25 when Kohat DPO Dilawar Khan Bangash’s convoy was targeted on the Indus Highway near Mattani. Seven policemen were killed and nine people, including the DPO himself, were injured.

On Friday, a volunteer of a local peace militia who was also a police informant was targeted in a roadside bomb blast in Mashogagar in the jurisdiction of the Badhaber police station.

The rise in militant activity has added immense pressure on the police, shared the police official. “Militants have become active in the area after the general elections, which is not a good sign as the inhabitants of Mattani and Badhaber rarely find continuous peace.”

However, he said the police were successful in catching a gang of militants last week which also included an important informer and member of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan faction in Darra Adam Khel. The encounter has provided the police with important information about the militants and their network in the area, maintained the official.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2013.


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