GHALANAI, June 11: At least 11 paramilitary soldiers and 10 militants were killed in an air strike by US-led forces on a security post of the Frontier Corps in Sheikh Baba area along the Afghan border in Mohmand tribal region on Tuesday night, government officials said.
Fifteen people, including six paramilitary soldiers, were wounded.
Local people said that sporadic gunfire continued throughout the night.
A spokesman for the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) termed it a “cowardly and unprovoked” act and said that 11 personnel, including a major of the Mohmand Rifles, a detachment of the Frontier Corps, were killed in the attack. It condemned the attack.
“Such acts of aggression don’t serve the common cause of fighting terrorism,” he said, adding that a strong protest had been lodged by the Pakistan Army. He said that Pakistan reserved the right to protect its citizens and soldiers against aggression.
Officials of the Mohmand Rifles said that 40 of their men were missing. This has not been confirmed officially.
Local officials said that the attack took place in the Sheikh Baba area near a place where Nato forces and Afghan National Army had been fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Kunar province which borders Mohmand and Bajaur tribal areas.
They said that allied forces’ warplanes had bombed the FC’s checkpost at Goraprai, some 65 kilometers northwest of Ghalanai, the administrative headquarters of Mohmand Agency.
The bodies of the soldiers killed in the attack were airlifted to Peshawar by helicopters. Joint funeral prayers for the slain soldiers were held in Peshawar and were attended by NWFP Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani and Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti. Local people said that several militants, some of them from South Waziristan, were among the dead.
One of them, Qari Fazli Khaliq, told Dawn that a pilotless drone had been flying over the area since Tuesday morning.
He said that posts in Eliazai, Rehmat Kor, Gulab Parai, Bahadar Killi and Chartana had been targeted and two children were also killed in Bahadar Killi.
Meanwhile, a spokesman of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed to have “foiled an attempt of the US-led allied forces to intrude into Pakistani territory”.
Maulvi Umar told Dawn that eight Taliban had been killed and nine others wounded in clashes. He claimed that the Taliban had captured seven soldiers of the Afghan National Army and shot down a Nato helicopter, killing its crew.
Our correspondent from Bajaur region contributed to this report.