PESHAWAR/ CHITRAL: Heavy clashes took place between the security forces and militants in a border town of Chitral Valley after a large number of militants equipped with the latest weapons entered the border villages and attacked two Pakistani military posts located close to Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the general area of Kalash Valley.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), 12 terrorists were killed in clashes with the security forces. Also, it stated that the security forces were vigilant and repulsed the terrorists’ attacks during which however four soldiers were martyred.
“Terrorists movement and concentration in Gawardesh, Pitigal, Barg-e-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. Owing to the heightened threat environment, our own posts were already on high alert. The valiant soldiers fought bravely and repulsed the attacks inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists,” the ISPR explained. Sanitization of the area is being carried out to eliminate any other terrorists found in the area.
“Security forces of Pakistan are determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our soldiers further strengthen our resolve. The brave people of Chitral also stand firmly with the security forces in not allowing the terrorists to ruin the peace of the area,” it added.
It also said that the interim Afghan government is expected to fulfil its obligations and deny the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for perpetrating acts of terrorism against Pakistan.
According to sources, the militants affiliated with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had entered the border villages in Chitral’s Bumburet Valley and set up their sanctuaries on hilltops. They fired from hilltops at the paramilitary Chitral Scouts of FC and local police. The local residents also confirmed the clashes between the security forces and the militants in the Astoi area of Bumburet and Jinjiret Koh area in Lower Chitral. They also reported sporadic clashes on Wednesday evening as they heard gunshots in the mountains.
There was no official word on the issue. However, the Chitral Scouts were put on alert at the border with Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan. The Afghanistan-based militants had threatened to attack Chitral a few days ago, prompting the authorities to beef up the security. The Afghanistan-based militants have carried out attacks in border areas from time to time over the last several years. This is stated to be the first major attack by militants after the establishment of the Taliban government in the neighbouring country. At least 26 paramilitary soldiers were martyred when the Afghanistan-based militants attacked a checkpoint in Arandu in Lower Chitral in August 2011.
The sources said the militants chose to target the comparatively peaceful Chitral Valley after they suffered heavy losses in South and North Waziristan, and the adjacent southern districts at the hands of security forces. Life was normal in the valley but the local population was visibly concerned. According to sources, some members of the FC and local police suffered bullet wounds in clashes with the militants and were shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital in Chitral city.
The Chitral-Bamburet Road was closed to traffic after reported clashes. Official sources said the road was closed to facilitate the security forces in deploying their reinforcements to the troubled spots. Local residents claimed to have seen the security forces being moved to the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“Please understand these guys have come in high pastures above 12,000 feet [of the sea level]. They have set up their nests there and are firing down into the valleys. There are no villages close by but there are side valleys. In the main valley, life is normal except for security checks. The forces are responding,” a local resident told The News from Chitral city.
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