KHAR, July 4: Dozens of Taliban from Afghanistan launched a pre-dawn attack on a security post in Bajaur tribal region on Monday, killing one paramilitary soldier and injuring another. Three attackers died when Pakistani forces fired back.
In North Waziristan, four people were wounded when mortar shells fired from across the border hit a house in Bang-i-Dar area, local people said.
It was the latest in a series of cross-border incidents that have raised tensions between the neighbours.
However, in an attempt to salvage a recent understanding reached at the top level, Pakistani and Afghan officials at a meeting in Islamabad on Monday condemned the incidents which caused loss of lives and destruction of property by either side, and stressed effective measures to curb militants’ activities.
Local people and a political administration official in Bajaur said that dozens of militants from across the border attacked the paramilitary checkpost in the Kitkot area of the Mamoond tehsil with heavy weapons.
Security personnel fired back, forcing the intruders to retreat into Afghanistan.
People in Bang-i-Dar village of North Waziristan said that several mortar shells fired by the Afghan National Army landed in the area with one hitting a house, leaving four people wounded.
According to the sources, a shell hit the residence of Haji Raza Khan at around 8.30am and four people, including a seven-year-old child, were injured.
Injured Waris Khan, Raees Khan, Rateen Khan and Nek Mall Khan were taken to a hospital.
Agencies add: Military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas confirmed one soldier was killed and another wounded in the attack on the Bajaur post, about 3km from the Afghan border.
“Since Bajaur has been cleared by the military, the military is present in the area, so this attack has to come from the other side,” he said.
Local administration official Islam Zeb said that more than 100 Afghan Taliban attacked the paramilitary checkpost in the Kitkot area of the Mamoond district, and confirmed the casualties.
“The Pakistan army and Frontier Crops retaliated and exchanged fire” before the militants fled back to Afghanistan, he said.
In Islamabad, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Afghan Ambassador Mohammad Umer Daudzai during an ‘in-depth’ meeting reviewed the situation following recent attacks in Dir, Bajaur, Mohmand and Kunar regions.
“Pakistan condemns the loss of lives and destruction of property on both sides by the militants. We consider Afghanistan’s loss as our own loss,” a statement issued after the meeting said.
“It is, therefore, imperative that efforts be redoubled by both sides to attain the objectives of shared peace and security and to enhance cooperation for shared development and prosperity.”
The foreign secretary conveyed to the Afghan ambassador the importance that Pakistan attached to establishing peace and tranquillity in the border region and the importance of effectively curbing the activities of miscreants.
Mr Bashir pointed out that as affirmed by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, “Pakistan desires closest relations with Afghanistan”.“We believe that both countries are faced with common challenges relating to militancy and terrorism which require deep and close cooperation,” he told the Afghan diplomat.
The foreign secretary and the Afghan ambassador expressed satisfaction on the recent meetings held in Kabul.