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Malakand general, six others killed


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Major General Sanaullah (L) and Lt Col Tauseef Ahmed (R). — Photo by Dawn
Major General Sanaullah (L) and Lt Col Tauseef Ahmed (R). — Photo by Dawn

UPPER DIR,: Just a day after the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government announced a phased withdrawal of troops from Malakand division, a Taliban bomb killed two senior military officers and a solider in Upper Dir on Sunday.

Four other security personnel were killed and 10 injured in bomb and rocket attacks in North Waziristan and Frontier Region Bannu.

According to a statement released by the ISPR, Maj Gen Sanaullah, General Officer Commanding for Malakand division, and Lt Col Tauseef Ahmed were returning with a convoy from Shahi Kot in Upper Dir district, near the Afghan border. When they reached Gat area an improvised explosive device planted on a road went off, destroying their vehicle.

“Maj Gen Sanaullah, Lt Col Tauseef Ahmed and soldier Irfanullah embraced martyrdom while two solders suffered injuries,” it said.

The injured were taken to a hospital in Dir.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack. Its spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told the Dawn correspondent in Ladha on phone from an unspecified place that military officers had been killed by the Swat chapter of TTP. Officials here said they feared the attacks might derail planned peace talks between the government and the Taliban.

When asked about the fate of the decision to withdraw troops from Malakand division, after the killing of the senior army officers by militants, a senior military official told Dawn on condition of anonymity that it was up to the government to decide. The military officers had gone to inspect a security post in Shahi Kot, about 50km west of Dir, the headquarters of Upper Dir district.

Security personnel cordoned off the area after the attack. The district administration imposed a curfew and launched a search for assailants. According to sources, three suspects were arrested and taken to an unspecified place for interrogation. The bodies of Maj Gen Sanaullah and Lt Col Tauseef were airlifted to Islamabad. Both the officers belonged to Baloch Regiment and hailed from Mianwali in Punjab.

Gen Sanaullah had on Sept 6 inaugurated the Jashn-i-Kumrat sports festival in Upper Dir and said that peace had been restored and the government’s writ established in the volatile region.

The festival was called off a day before its conclusion to mourn the death of the officers and expressed solidarity with the army.

The border region in Upper Dir has seen a number of deadly cross-border attacks in which dozens of soldiers have lost their lives, but it was the first time that a high-ranking military officer has been killed.

Three security personnel were killed and four others injured in two bomb blasts in North Waziristan tribal region.

In the first attack, a vehicle of security personnel was hit by a bomb detonated by remote control near Karam Kot on the Miramshah-Mirali road. One soldier was killed and another injured.

Two personnel were killed and three others wounded when a bomb went off near a checkpost on Miramshah-Datakhel road.

Security forces backed by helicopter gunships cordoned off the area and started searching for the attackers. However, no arrest was made till late night.

The political administration imposed a curfew till Monday morning.

One Khasadar (tribal policeman) was killed and four others were injured when militants fired rockets on them in Frontier Region Bannu.

The personnel deployed at Mir Zail checkpost were on routine patrol in the area when they came under the attack.

Forces deployed at a nearby post rushed to the place and opened fire on militants, forcing them to flee.

Two critically injured Khasadars were taken to Peshawar.

Comments (41) Closed

Scherazade Sep 16, 2013 08:40am

Our beloved soldiers,

We salute you for defending our borders and sacrificing your lives in the line of duty. We always imagined that armies would fight external enemies, but now tragically the enemies lie within our borders. When will this mindless bloodshed end? How many more innocent lives need to be sacrificed before concrete measures are taken to end this madness?

Ali Wadood Sep 16, 2013 09:21am

This is very sad news, and the government needs to step up the justice system. Only justice can solve such problems.

Awais Sep 16, 2013 10:00am

i am waiting for a general with enough courage to stand up for his fallen comrades and say no to dialogue with militants. Terrorists are never negotiated with, they are only exterminated !!!

IMRAN KHAN Sep 16, 2013 10:37am

Hats off to the Government for its BOLD response that the incident MIGHT derail the talks with Taliban. Really !!! Is that how you go about those heinous elements which are challenging the very writ of the Government ???

N K Ali Sep 16, 2013 10:44am

Inna Lillahe Wa Inna Ilaihe Rajeoon. RIP Shuhada. They sacrificed their lives unhesitatingly, so that we may live. Salams to the Shuhada. Minus a few corrupt individuals, the Pakistan Army is the only patriotic institution in Pakistan. The Pakistan Army is always ready to rescue Pakistan and their mettle can be gauged by the fact that top notch officers confront the enemy. As for our civilians' so called democratic setup, "shambolic" and the less said the better. Democracy has failed in Pakistan and has sided with the oppressor and corrupt. Salams

Javed Sep 16, 2013 10:58am

It appears that the Government does not have the confidence and resolve to punish these evil people called Taliban for their crimes. They keep killing our army officers, innocents citizens, women and children, but the goverment does not appear to care about it.

Muhammad Mujeeb Sep 16, 2013 11:06am

TTP does not deserve any chance for peace talks. It has been precedent that nation is ready to suffer furthermore to just get a permanent solution to TTP issues. If the withdrawal of force from this sensitive region is to result in prevailing TTP rule again then I must congratulate every effected person from Swat operation, be it an IDP or the brave soldier who stood ground, as all those efforts will become futile.

Imran Kamal Sep 16, 2013 11:15am

May Allah bless their souls ... Wish Pakistan Army and all law enforcement agencies live up to their oath to protect Pakistan, hunt down and eliminate every last Talibans and extremists among us. Arresting and jail term will not help taming the devils.


Shah Sep 16, 2013 11:24am

so much for peaceful mullahs !!! Dear Govt. are you still in your senses?

Shoaib Sep 16, 2013 12:06pm

I Salute You. I don't know when the government of Pakistan will decide unanimously and categorically to withdraw of this imposed war by Western countries during terribly dark tenure of Musharaf. Believe me It was neither our war in past nor presently but we are just victims only as a part of a chain contained on a false propaganda against Muslims by so called civilized western countries .

IBN-E-ASHFAQUE Sep 16, 2013 01:13pm

The only way to fight these elements is to focus on empowering the people of the area manage the security as well as the economy of the area by providing a governance structure that is clean and responsive to the needs of the people of Dir. Sadly the governance model of Pakistan is completely out dated and any change is resisted by the elite tooth and nail. Force coupled with governance responsive to the needs of the people is the solution. However, force coupled with governance structures that are responsive only and only to the needs of the elite will not succeeed as has happened next door in Afghanistan. Pakistan needs a new model of governance structure to dissociate the populace from the terrorists. Pakistan Zindabad.

Indian Sep 16, 2013 01:59pm

OH......SO SAD...

kanwaljeet Sep 16, 2013 02:31pm

Rest in peace the departed souls...May allah forgive them..

AHA Sep 16, 2013 03:17pm

May they rest in peace.

Indian Sep 16, 2013 04:26pm

Although India is not indifferent than Pakistan. But we don't negotiate with the terrorists. Pakistan should follow the same route in they wanna come out of the mess

Agha Ata Sep 16, 2013 05:36pm

General Kiani, do you now consider them as your enemy that must be taken to the task, or would you still promise to do something in the future (like politicians) and do nothing now?

IndianinUS Sep 16, 2013 05:57pm

@Indian: Your statement "we(India) don't negotiate with the terrorists" is false. We have negotaited or tried to negotiate almost every single time. An example would be the kandahar hijacking.

joe Sep 16, 2013 06:02pm

@Indian: you are absolutely right. Pak armyand Gov need to be like India Gov. DO NOt negotiate with these terrorist but go get them all and hang them all. Indo-Pak friendship God Bless.

joe Sep 16, 2013 06:04pm

Please tighten the security, no more taking sides on behalf of race, religion, culture, cast, etc etc. Capture and kill all terrorist no mercy. make really good friendship with India and help each other out in crime prevention, economy, import and export, education etc etc. Indo-pak friendship God Bless

Burki Sep 16, 2013 06:23pm

instead of becoming emotional and posting those run of the mill type condolence messages, one should be asking exactly what has the Army learnt from this almost decade long insurgency in terms of being able to better handle situations like this? IEDs have been killing soldiers on a routine basis yet you see pictures of army patrols in those areas where poor soldiers are stuffed in the back of open flat bed pick up trucks like cattle, making them sitting ducks for terrorist attacks. There hasn't been any improvements, learning of new techniques or introducing new technologies. What that white elephant HIT in Texila has been doing so far? Why couldn't they come up with a technology to protect patrol vehicles against such attacks? Why army isn't using HIT built APCs during such mobile patrolling etc? It's such a shame that half a million strong army has lost more than 3000 soldiers/officers against a ragtag militant group and yet they haven't been able to improve their capabilities or introduce any new techniques or technologies. Guess the army brass is as usual more occupied with grabbing lands to build their next shopping malls and golf courses or to grab lucrative positions in state run entities to secure their post retirement life.

Javed Sep 16, 2013 07:21pm

One cannot negotiate with animals like the Taliban. The only solution is to wage constant war against these criminals.

Syed Sep 16, 2013 07:29pm

@Indian: why cant we negotiate when NATO is having peace talks.... dont feel sorry for us Indian.. you should feel sorry and worry for India's current state !!

nabil Sep 16, 2013 08:06pm

its such sorry state,goverment and the army have not autherised any action against these terrorists who have killed our brave soldiers. we need action NOT WORDS to RID OF these MURDERERS.

Faizan Sep 16, 2013 10:05pm

India-Pakistan friendship....keeping in view the current scenario not going to happen as there are some elements who don't want that although the people want peace... Both countries will have to realize that its in the best interest if peace prevails in the region. If Germany and France can forget the past after WW2 why not Pakistan and India...? but its all about willingness if they are willing to do it... both will benefit from it!

Yawar Sep 17, 2013 03:25am

It is amazing how we as a nation, and especially our journalists and politicians, are so scared of the TTP that the only time some of us have the courage to call them out by name is when they take responsibility for killing our soldiers and civilians. But even then some of us refuse to point fingers at them and hold them responsible and diffuse the seriousness of their actions by only showing sympathy to the departed souls and their families, and that's it. How many more lives do we have to lose before realizing that the biggest threat to our national security is the TTP and there is only one thing they want and that is to destroy Pakistan and take control.

Faisal Sep 17, 2013 03:35am

Taliban are terrorists and Terrorits need to be hanged not negotiated. They donot accept Pakistan Constitution or writ of Govt. Why Govt is bowing before them for talks?

Zaffi Sep 17, 2013 07:26am

@Awais: agreed..thses so called TTP beleives in no negotiations. it is there way or heaven highway. Why would one talk to the ones who do not have a sanctuaty of life. Therik for Terrorism for Pakistan must meet its eventual goal of hell highway, if not our way.

Muzaffar Sep 17, 2013 07:57am

Major General:Sanaullah looks just like President Ayub Khan in his younger days. I don't know how to express my sorrow for this loss. PLEASE, Govt:of Pakistan & Army............don't show any mercy to these animals and lunatics. NO negotiations! The only way to finish these beasts once and for all is to eliminate them. You ever think they'll listen to reason and agree to anything? They have renegaded on talks before also. "Wake up!'

wakup-please Sep 17, 2013 09:52am

Please keep in mind that we (pakistanis) are going through a rough time with Taliban insurgency. So, right when we started to talking about negotiations with Taliban, this happened, why ? not sure if Taliban took the responsibility of it or not. However, do remember, there are certain elements and parties internal and external to Pakistan who do not want the peace negotiations to start to take place. Using force hasn't done much with these folks, so, sometimes one has to bit the bullet for the sake of the country and go after piece.

Akhter Husain Sep 17, 2013 12:17pm

@wakup-please: If guns can not bring peace then noting will.We must not forget that the rebels have no ethics,even the ethics of war.They are killing non-combatants with out caring who they are,,be they the children or women.All the activities of TTP is to extract as much money as possible.In fact they want the people of Pakistan to give them Khiraj.for all time to come.Should we accept it?

Parvez Sep 17, 2013 02:39pm

By doing this the Taliban have shown that they IN FACT control the narrative............while all we do is CLAIM to control the narrative.

US CRNTCOM Sep 17, 2013 05:29pm

On September 9, during the inauguration of the Jashan -i-Kumrat; a 10 day long sports festival, Maj-Gen Sanaullah, the commander of security forces in Malakand Division, had said that the Army has secured the western borders of the country by thwarting the nefarious design of the terrorists. It is an irony that yesterday, Maj-Gen Sanaullah, along with Lt.Col Tauseef and L/Nk Imran were killed in IED attack, which was claimed by the TTP. This is the not the first time these terrorists have chosen a cowardly way to target our soldiers. Our condolences go out the families of Maj-Gen Sanaullah, Lt.Col Tauseef and LanceNaik Imran. We stand by the people of Pakistan in their time of grief and support their efforts to counter terrorism.

Abdul Quddus DET-United States Central Command

Ahtasham Sep 17, 2013 06:41pm

PML(N) is responsible of this incident!!!

Mohsin Babar Sep 17, 2013 08:58pm

Don't stop the killing, keep at it... the trophy will be handed to the last man standing.. Then he can run the country the way he wants... On the contrary, we should learn or atleast have an idea of how effective our "amazing" army is. So, lets come out of the wonderland and accept the truth. Our army is not our protector rather its the oppressor. So, I am not sorry for anything!

Just Someone Sep 17, 2013 09:22pm

@wakup-please: Unfortunately with TTP we will probably need to keep using a calculated measure of force to keep them within certain limits else they will spread to every corner of the country. They will portray themselves as philanthropists and supporters of the poor based on the money which they gained through extortion from of all classes of the society. The need of the hour is also to financially limit their influence by improving the economy of the country and implenting growth strategies that reduce poverty and inequality.

Just Someone Sep 17, 2013 09:34pm

@Shoaib: The more I read history, and historical refernences to Muslims in general in history (both from the Muslim and non-Muslim sources), the more I come to a conclusion that the narrow mindness and conservatism which we have in groups like TTP, Afghans our tribal areas and which is now spreading across Pakistan is more of a recent phenomenon rather than something historic. We need to open our minds and broaden our vision.

syed Sep 17, 2013 10:46pm

@Burki: really appreciate your suggestions which are mocking suggestions. keep doing it, it is very helpful to boost the morale of our Soldiers

Imran Sep 17, 2013 11:44pm

@Javed: Why don't you go and fight them.

Syed Ahmed Sep 18, 2013 09:42am

The only way to fight this evil is with brute force, i do not agree with Imran Khans policy of passivity, I am Pashtun and I know these people confuse negotiation with weakness, yes you can negotiate but not now, not when they have the upper hand, first you must beat them to a pulp, cut off their source of strength, weaken them, and then invite them, why would they negotiate with the govt when it is the govt that is on the backfoot.

Pakistan needs to launch operations inside Afghanistan if necessary and attack the strongholds of Taliban, we must not be afraid of these evil people, we are a nation of 200 million, they are not even 10,000 and we must not, we cannot allow them to hold an entire nation hostage. I support brute force, before talks.

Syed Ahmed Sep 18, 2013 09:44am

@Syed: because NATO is foreign occupier and they have to leave one day, TTP is attacking our nation from inside, they are rebels and Khwariji, they are not the same as Afghan Taliban who are freedom fighters, are you a child that you cannot make distinction?

Syed Ahmed Sep 18, 2013 09:46am

@Agha Ata: Kiyani looks half asleep, he has no panache, no energy, no gusto for a chief...he seems so laid back, its scary actually.