PARACHINAR: A captain and three soldiers of the Frontier Corps were martyred and three others injured in two blasts in the Kharlachi area of Kurram Agency on Sunday.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement that the blasts happened when troops were searching for the militants linked to the kidnapping of the US-Canadian family freed last week.
Security forces had recovered an American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children on Thursday soon after they were brought into the Kurram tribal region from Afghanistan. The couple was kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012. The spokesman for the banned Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Mohammad Khurasani, issued a statement, claiming responsibility for the blasts.
The ISPR’s statement did not give details of the blasts said to have been caused by improvised explosive devices (IED). Sources in Kharlachi town said that security personnel were combing the area opposite the Khewrha Post of Afghan border force. Three of the personnel were injured when the first IED went off. One of them died later. A rescue party headed by Captain Husnain rushed to the scene of the incident. While rescuing their wounded colleagues another IED exploded, killing Captain Husnain and soldiers Saeed Baz, Qadir and Jumma Gul. The injured were identified as Anwar, Zahir and Sher Afzal who were taken to a hospital in the area. Later they were airlifted to Peshawar.
Afghan Taliban reject claims by freed Canadian hostage
Security forces launched a search operation, but no arrest was reported till late night.
Funeral prayers were offered at the FC Ground in Parachinar which was attended by Corps Commander Lt Gen Nazir Butt and other senior officers and local elders.
In a statement issued in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra condemned the incident and expressed sorrow over the killing of soldiers. He said that fight against terrorism would continue till its logical end.
MNA Sajid Hussain Turi, Senator Sajjad Turi and Secretary Anjuman-i-Hussainya Haji Noor Mohammad also condemned the incident and urged the government to tighten security in areas along the border.
AFP adds: The Afghan Taliban rejected claims by freed Canadian hostage Joshua Boyle that his kidnappers had killed his child and raped his wife during captivity, saying the woman had a “natural miscarriage”.
After returning to Toronto on Friday Mr Boyle accused his captors of killing his baby daughter and raping his wife — accusations which the Taliban said were “fake”.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Mr Boyle and Ms Coleman were never separated during their captivity, “precisely due to the fact that the Mujahideen did not want to incite any suspicion”, but he admitted a baby had died.
“During a period of detention an incident did take place when the woman became ill. The area was remote, no doctors were present and due to this severe condition, the woman had a natural miscarriage of a girl,” he said in a statement.
“The allegations floating around in the media have nothing to do with the reality because the said people are now in the hands of our enemy.”
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2017