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More troops deployed along Afghan border

October 06, 2004

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ISLAMABAD / WANA, Oct 5: Pakistan has stepped up security along its western border by deploying additional troops ahead of the Oct 9 Afghan presidential elections.

A press release issued by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that security had been beefed up to foil any attempt aimed at disrupting the election process.

Security measures taken by Pakistan, it said, would also help curb infiltration into Pakistan through its porous border. Afghan refugees in Pakistan would also take part in Afghan presidential polls and they would cast their votes on the same day in 1,666 polling stations established in different parts of the country.

The government of Pakistan is collaborating with the International Organisation for Migration. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan has completed the registration process and about 650,000 Afghan voters have been registered in the country.

The ISPR announced that about 250 new check posts had been established in the border areas and a number of small sub-units of the Quick Reaction Force had been deployed in the border area to take immediate counter-measures, adding that aerial surveillance and patrolling had also been increased.

The army has beefed up the existing security all along the country's western border that falls in North West Frontier Province and Balochistan Province by deploying additional troops.

TWO SOLDIERS KILLED: Two soldiers were killed and six others injured in a landmine blast caused by a remote-control device near Jandola in the Tank area on Tuesday, only a day after the militants in South Waziristan agreed to a ceasefire in the volatile region.

Officials said a military convoy was going to South Waziristan from Dera Ismail Khan. When it reached near Jandola, one if its vehicles hit the landmine linked to a remote-control device, causing injuries to several troops.

They said a soldier of the Punjab Regiment died on the spot, while seven army personnel, including a Major, were wounded. The condition of four of them is stated to be serious.

The injured were shifted to a military hospital in Bannu by an army helicopter, where one soldier succumbed to his injuries, an official source said. The incident occurred at about 10.30am. Security forces later encircled the Jandola bazaar and blocked the Wana-Tank road.

The sources said that security forces had arrested four Khasadars, identified as Noor Mohammad, Misal Khan, Alam Khan and Wali Jan, on the charges of negligence.

Meanwhile, the South Waziristan region remained peaceful on Tuesday, following a 10-day ceasefire announced on Monday by militant leaders Abdullah Mahsud and Baitullah Mahsud.

Abdullah Mahsud has condemned the attack on the military convoy in Jandola. In another development, elected representatives of Fata have postponed their scheduled visit to South Waziristan. A group of Fata parliamentarians was due to arrive in Wana on Wednesday, but the trip was postponed at the eleventh hour.

Unidentified people distributed leaflets in Wana, the regional headquarters of South Waziristan, on Monday night, asking people to provide shelter to mujahideen. The leaflets, written in Pashto, called for continuing jihad against infidels and supporters of the United States.

Last week, the military had dropped thousands of leaflets from helicopters and planes in the North and South Waziristan regions, warning people against providing refuge to terrorists.