LANDI KOTAL: The Torkham border was closed for six hours on Monday after unidentified militants attacked a Frontier Corps (FC) check post in Landikotal tehsil of Khyber Agency.
Political administration official Mairaj Khan said around midnight suspected militants fired rockets at the check post near Zakrya Masjid, injuring two personnel. Two other rockets hit nearby villages. Fortunately, there were no casualties.
“The attack spread panic among the Khuga Khel tribesmen living near the border,” he added.
Heavy contingents of khasadars, FC and levies officials blocked the road and launched a search operation following the incident. Seventeen arrests were made with the help of sniffer dogs, and the suspects were taken to the FC cantonment in Landikotal for investigations.
Khan said at 6:30am they were directed by the political agent of the agency to close the border for all kinds of traffic and tighten security. Two hours later they opened the gate for pedestrians.
While the gates were opened for traffic by noon, security remained tight.
Jan Agha, a cement supplier from Landikotal, said he had been waiting in line since 3am. “Militants will not wait for security forces to come catch them at the border gate,” Agha said, alleging the border was closed only to bother tribesmen in Ramazan.
“I lost Rs35,000 today because the border was closed,” said Syed Gul, a grocery supplier from Jalalabad standing beside his truck loaded with tomatoes from Punjab. I was already late and when I reached the border they told me it was closed, Gul said, adding after checking all his documents and accepting bribe, Pakistani authorities told him he cannot cross over.
“We are suppliers, our time is our money,” he said, adding his vehicles were parked in Jalalabad waiting for the supply.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2013.