Pakistan has once again lodged a protest with Afghanistan over Tuesday night’s cross-border attack on a Pakistani military post by Afghanistan-based terrorists in Lower Dir district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“The Afghan charge d’ affaires was called to the Foreign Office and a strong protest was lodged,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Wednesday. “The Afghan authorities were, once again, urged to take effective steps to stop the use of Afghan territory for repeated cross-border fire and physical attacks by terrorists.”
It added that Pakistan would also be taking up this matter with the Afghan government at a higher level in the broader context of enhancing security along the Pak-Afghan border.
The protest came a day after Pakistani forces repulsed a cross-border attack on a military post in Lower Dir, killing at least seven attackers and injuring nine others, military officials said late Tuesday.
Seventy to eighty militants sneaked in from the northeastern Afghan province of Kunar on Chaand Raat and attacked a border post situated between Tripman and Inkaal Sar areas of Lower Dir, one official said.
“The troops manning the post successfully warded off the attack, forcing the militants to flee back to their safe haven across the Durand Line,” the official added. “Six attackers were killed and nine injured in the skirmish.”
However, the claim could not be verified independently as journalists are not allowed access to the volatile mountainous region where militants have mounted deadly attacks in the past. In one such attack, Maj-Gen Sanaullah Khan Niazi was killed when his vehicle was targeted with an improvised explosive device (IED) near the same place in 2013.
In the month of Ramazan, militants mounted sporadic attacks on Pakistani border posts in the Mamond tehsil of Bajaur Agency that borders Lower Dir district.
The security forces acted promptly and decided to conduct a search operation in the areas where they believed the militants could have their sympathizers. The operation was, however, postponed after a local jirga raised a lashkar to assist the security forces in warding off cross-border attacks.
Taliban commander Mullah Fazalullah and his loyalists found a safe haven in the northeastern Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan after they were routed from Swat in a massive military operation in 2008. Since then, they have been carrying out cross-border attacks on Pakistani border posts.
Pakistan has protested to Kabul several times and asked the Afghan security forces to take action against the Pakistani militants who are using the Afghan soil against Pakistan. Kabul, however, has not taken any action, triggering speculation that these militants might have a support base there.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2014.