Armed with sophisticated weapons, over 300 militants Thursday crossed into Pakistan and attacked villages in Bajaur Agency, killing five people, three women and two children, while eight others sustained injuries.
In a pre-dawn attack, at about 4am the group of militants crossed over the Pak-Afghan border along the Kunar province of Afghanistan and attacked Pakistani villages Manu Jangal and Takha, adjacent to the border at tehsil Mamoond. Over 300 militants, who were armed with mortars, rockets and machine guns, targeted civilians. It has also been reported that the militants have detained and taken away some volunteers of local peace Lashkar formed against militants in Bajaur.
Soon after the militants’ attack on the villages, personnel of law enforcement agencies backed by volunteers of local Lashkar retaliated with full forces. The militants went back into Afghanistan. It was believed that some of the attackers were also killed but the toll was not known. Sources said that after the happening, reinforcements have been dispatched to the area. Sources said exchange of fire between security forces and the militants continued till 1pm. In a similar incident on June 1, hundreds of militants attacked Barawal area in Upper Dir on the Afghan border, and reportedly a total of 80 people, 32 policemen and some locals, were killed in the standoff.
Agencies add: Afghan officials deny any cross-border attack and instead accused Pakistani troops of killing six people in a rocket attack on Wednesday. It was the third such attack reportedly carried out by hundreds of fighters into northwest Pakistan this month. The border is porous and tensions between Afghans and Pakistanis are high. Muhammad Ilyas Khan, a government official in Mamoond, and security officials in the northwest confirmed the attack and casualties.
“About 300 militants came from Afghanistan and attacked villagers,” Khan said by mid-day. “Fighting is still going on. Tribesmen from the local lashkar (militia) have joined paramilitary forces and army artillery is pounding shells.” Kunar police chief Mohammad Ewaz Nazir alleged that Pakistani troops had been shelling the Shigal district of the province for a month. “There hasn’t been any attack from Afghan soil on Pakistani territory today or yesterday,” he added.