PESHAWAR: Four personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Corps, including an officer, were martyred and three others were injured in a roadside explosion near the Afghan border in Kurram Agency on Sunday.
They belonged to the Kurram Militia, a wing of the Frontier Corps (FC), playing an important role in the war against terrorism in Fata and rest of the troubled spots in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed the loss of four soldiers in the explosion. It said the four soldiers martyred in the blast were part of the search party for handlers of rescued Canadian family on Thursday.
The hostages, a Canadian man and his American wife and their three children, were in custody of the Haqqani network after their abduction in the late 2012 in Afghanistan. The militants were reportedly transferring them to another area due to fears of being monitored by the CIA through their pilotless spy aircraft, which were hovering over the tribal region.
Military officials told The News that the paramilitary troopers were performing duties in the border area when came under attack at Kharlachi, a border point between Pakistan and Afghanistan. They said the terrorists had planted improvised explosive devices in the border area and triggered the IEDs when the troops were passing through the area. Those martyred in the blast were identified as Captain Muhammadul Hasnain, Sepoy Saeed Baz, Sepoy Qadir and Sepoy Juma Gul.
According to sources, Captain Hasnain was injured in the blast but later succumbed to his injuries before being shifted to hospital. Similarly, Naik Anwar Khan, Sepoy Zahir and Lance Naik Sher Afzal suffered injuries in the explosion.
The Afghanistan-based Pakistani Taliban, led by Maulana Fazlullah, claimed responsibility for the three subsequent explosions caused by IEDs planted in the Kharlachi area, a border village between Pakistan and Afghanistan. A spokesman for the proscribed militant group, Muhammad Khorasani, claimed they planted an IED in the border area and targeted a military vehicle passing through the border area. He claimed they triggered the second IED when the troops arrived for rescue of the victims of the first explosion.
APP adds: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi expressed grief and sorrow over the martyrdom of FC personnel in an IED blast in Kurram Agency. Sympathising deeply with the bereaved families, the prime minister prayed for eternal peace of the martyred souls, who sacrificed their lives while defending the motherland against evil forces, and grant of courage to the families to bear this irreparable loss with equanimity, the PM Office media wing said in a press release.The prime minister also prayed for swift recovery of the injured FC personnel.