GHALANAI: Five soldiers and at least 15 militants were killed during an attack from across the Afghan border on three security posts at Gora Pari in the Mohmand tribal region in the early hours of Monday morning.
“The terrorists from across the border attempted attack on three Pakistan border posts in Mohmand Agency,” said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement.
The attack was repulsed “through effective presence, vigilance and response”, it said.
The personnel killed in the clash “were identified as Naik Sanaullah, Naik Safdar Khan and soldiers Altaf, Nek Muhammad and Anwar Khan”.
According to the military’s public relations wing, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa appreciated the troops’ response to the attack and emphasised the “need for required physical presence on Afghan side of the border for matching and effective border security”.
“Terrorists are common threat and must be denied freedom of movement/action along the border,” he said.
The army chief hailed the sacrifice rendered by the soldiers.
The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan’s splinter group Jamaatul Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack. The group’s spokesman Asad Mansoor said in a statement sent to media outlets that the army posts were simultaneously attacked with heavy weapons.
A military officer told Dawn that the militants crossed the border from Kunar province and attacked the Gora Pari Top, Gora Pari Top 1 and Gora Pari Top 2 posts at about 4.30am.
The posts are being manned by soldiers of the 27th Sindh Regiment.
The official said that about 40 attackers first approached the Gora Pari Top 2 post where the five soldiers were killed. He said the attackers used heavy and light weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, sub-machineguns and light machineguns.
Over 15 militants were killed in the exchange of fire, he said.
The ISPR said on Monday night that over 20 militants had been in injured in the response to the cross-border attack.
Vowing that the army would not spare any terrorist, it said there were credible reports that the militants killed overnight included Kuchay Bajuari, Zar Mohammad alias Madni, Huzaifa, Sangary, Lakhkari and Sangeen.
The official said there were reports that the injured militants were under treatment in a hospital in Jalalabad which was at a drive of about three hours from the spot.
The official said the bodies of the soldiers were airlifted to Peshawar and sent to their native areas after funeral prayers.
The two additional border posts were set up after a militant attack on Gora Pari Top post in 2011 with rockets and mortars claimed the lives of 10 soldiers and a major.
Gora Pari is a strategic hilltop near Elamzai top in Bazai tehsil that is still covered with snow.
According to sources, militant hideouts are seen at a distance of two to three kilometres from there in Kunar. They said Jamaatul Ahrar militants were using the camps.
After the recent wave of terrorism across the country, the army closed the border crossings at Torkham in Khyber Agency, Kharlachi in Kurram Agency, Angoor Adda and Ghulam Khan in South and North Waziristan and Chaman in Balochistan.
The army made redeployment to seal the Afghan border, attacked militant hideouts and also launched operation Raddul Fasaad in urban areas of Punjab and rest of the country to eliminate terrorists and their facilitators.
It reportedly pounded with shells a training camp of Jamaatul Ahrar, which had also claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks on Feb 13 and Feb 15 in Lahore and Mohmand Agency.
The sources said that a key leader of the militant group, Adil Bacha, had been killed and five hideouts, weapon depots and camps at Reena, Parchawo, Lal Pura, and Sarkano destroyed in the shelling.
Afghan Deputy Head of Mission Abdul Nasir Yousafi was summoned to the Foreign Office in Islamabad to receive protest over the terrorist attacks on military posts in Mohmand and Khyber regions in which six soldiers were killed.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office spokesman, the government of Pakistan lodged a strong protest with the Afghan government over the death of five soldiers at Pakistan military posts in Mohmand and one in Khyber Agency as a result of firing by terrorists from Afghan territory.
The Afghan government was asked to investigate the attacks and “take a firm action against terrorists operating from its soil to prevent recurrence of such incidents”.
The need for cooperation from the Afghan side for effective border management was also stressed.
Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2017