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PARACHINAR: Two Fron­tier Corps personnel were martyred and five others injured in firing from across the border with Afghanistan, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Sunday.

The attack was carried out from the Khost province on an FC post in the Laka Tiga area of Lower Kurram Agency, about 25km south of Parachinar. The firing continued for several hours.

Security forces launched a counter-attack while, according to officials of the political administration, scores of armed tribesmen from Bangash and other tribes started assembling to support the security personnel.

The ISPR said the FC troops were fired upon when they were busy in “routine surveillance along the Pak-Afghan border for plugging gaps and making necessary preparations for starting fencing in the area.

“Pakistani troops are exercising maximum res­traint so as to avoid any civilian casualties,” the ISPR said, adding “military engage­ment is under way to defuse [the] situation.”

Tribal elders reportedly made announcements from mosques, appealing to people to join the security personnel on the border. Following the announcements, several armed tribesmen, belonging to Turi and Bangash and other tribes started approaching the border posts.

An investigation into the incident has been initiated. Kurram is one of the most sensitive tribal areas as it borders three Afghan provinces and at one point serves as a key route for militants’ cross-border movement.

Pakistan began fencing the border last year to prevent terrorists from crossing into the country from Afghanistan.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2018