QUETTA: Security forces arrested a suspected agent of the Afghan intelligence age­n­cy — the National Direc­torate of Security (NDS) — and five suspected militants during an operation on the outskirts of the border town of Chaman on Wednesday.

According to official sources, a heavy exchange of fire took place between security forces and the militants in the Gul Darra Bagheecha area of Chaman. A huge quantity of arms and ammunition and two ‘explosives-laden’ vehicles were recovered from the hideout of the militants.

“Those arrested included two Afghan nationals who had come to Chaman from Kunar province of Afgha­nistan with the NDS agent,” a security official said.

According to sources, personnel of the Frontier Corps (FC) on information provided by an intelligence agency about the presence of a wanted man belonging to the NDS launched a search operation in the Gul Darra Bagheecha area.

As security forces cordoned off the area, they were fired upon by armed men hiding in a compound. FC soldiers returned fire and a shootout continued for two hours. Finally security forces overpowered six gunmen and took them into custody.

Those arrested included three local people belonging to a banned militant organisation involved in raids on security forces, suicide atta­cks and other subversive ac­­ti­vities in different parts of Balochistan and other areas of the country, the sources said.

“Security forces found in the compound two cars with wires attached to them and believe that the cars may have been fitted with vehicle-born explosive devices.”

The Bomb Disposal Squad of police department was called to check the vehicles. It had not cleared the vehicles till late in the night.

Arms and ammunition seized from the hideout of militants included two rocket launchers, 11 landmines, two grenades, one Kalashnikov, one pistol and thousands of rounds of different weapons.

Those arrested were han­ded over to the authorities con­cerned.

“Earlier, security forces had carried out two operations to arrest the NDS agent, but each time he escaped and crossed into Afghan­istan,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2016