• ISPR says five soldiers injured in Lower Chitral attack; 12 militants dead
• Four assailants killed as another infiltration attempt foiled in N. Waziristan
• Kabul asked to prevent terrorists from using Afghan soil for incursions

CHITRAL/NORTH WAZIRISTAN: At least four security men embraced martyrdom while more than 16 fighters were killed on Wednesday as militants’ attempts to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan were foiled by troops deployed along the border with Afghanistan.

In Lower Chitral, militants attacked two security check posts in the southern part of the district in the early hours of Wednesday. The pre-dawn attack targeted check posts in Astui Pass and Jinjiret Koh situated in the south of Lower Chitral, bordering the Afghan province of Nuristan.

Astui Pass is located in the Bumburet Valley, one of the three valleys in southern Chitral where the Kalash community resides.

In a statement issued by the army’s media wing, ISPR said that a “large group of terrorists equipped with the latest weapons attacked two Pakistani military posts located near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the general area Kalash, District Chitral”.

“Terrorists’ movement and concentration in Gawardesh, Pitigal, Barg-i-Matel, and Batash areas of Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan had already been picked up and were timely shared with the interim Afghan government,” the statement said, adding that forces were on alert due to the threat of attack.

“The valiant soldiers fought bravely and repulsed the attacks inflicting heavy casualties to the terrorists,” it said, adding that twelve militants were killed and “a large number has been critically injured”. “Sanitisation of the area is being carried out to eliminate any other terrorists found in the area,” it added.

According to the ISPR, “Interim Afghan government is expected to fulfil its obligations and deny the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for perpetuating [sic] acts of terrorism against Pakistan.”

Earlier, Lower Chitral DC Muhammad Ali Khan, while briefing the local media in his office, said that four soldiers were martyred and five sustained injuries during the shootout that continued for more than eight hours. He said that nine militants were killed and 42 were injured during the clash.

The DC said that the situation in the borders “is totally under control” and a large number of troops were deployed there.

The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack through its spokesperson, Mohammad Khorasani.

For the past few days, reports have been circulating across Chitral regarding an imminent militant attack and security was put on high alert. In August 2011, a similar cross-border attack on several checkposts falling within the limits of the Drosh and Arandu police stations left dozens of police and paramilitary personnel dead.

Four militants killed

In a separate incident, the security forces killed four suspected militants reportedly led by Commander Shaheen alias Aryana and injured seven others, as they attempted to enter Pakistan via Wali Khan post in Darra Nishtar, which falls in Shawal, North Waziristan.

Sources informed that at least 20 militants from commander Gud Khalid Group were trying to cross into Pakistan when they were spotted by the security forces.

“As soon as they got closer to the fence [on the Pak-Afghan border], security forces started firing at the militants. Four militants were killed and seven were injured,” official sources said, adding that the militants shifted the dead bodies and the injured to Afghanistan. “Khalid demanded four caskets from dealers in the New Adda Bazaar of the district,” sources said.

Meanwhile, a mother and her four kids died and two others sustained injuries when a mortar shell, fired from an unknown location, landed inside Sahib Noor’s house in Gariyon area of the district on Wednesday morning, police said.

Police informed that the mortar shell exploded inside the house in Arsalkot village. The injured were moved to Khalif Gulnawaz Hospital in district Bannu. “It is still unknown as to who fired the mortar shell and where did it come from,” police said.

Our correspondent in North Waziristan also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2023

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