Thursday July 25, 2024

Pakistan moves heavy artillery to Afghan border

By our correspondents
February 21, 2017

Four militants killed in FR Tank; Nato supplies and Afghan transit trade come to a halt; Gen Bajwa says Pakistan and Afghanistan will fight terrorism together; enhanced security along border meant to fight against terrorists of all hue and colour

TANK/RAWALPINDI: Security forces have moved heavy artillery and other military equipment closer to the Pak-Afghan border to counter terrorists posing a serious threat to Pakistan.

Security has also been tightened at the border to strictly monitor terrorist movement. Borders with Afghanistan were closed following a deadly suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Sindh last week.

Nato supplies and trade and business activities with Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics remained suspended on the fourth day of border closure on Monday that normally take place via various border points in North Waziristan, Khyber and Kurram agencies.

Torkham bazaar and other public and private offices remained closed on the fourth day after curfew was clamped in the area. Traders and transporters supported the government's stance on terrorism but said closure of the border was bringing them huge losses.

All Torkham Custom Agents President Hayatullah Shinwari told The News that the Pakistan Customs had suffered huge revenue losses due to the closure of border. He said over 500 shops, 200 hotels and private businesses had been closed in the area.

The move comes after the Pakistan Army pounded militant hideouts inside Afghanistan last week and killed militants belonging to the terrorist outfit Jamaatul Ahrar. Earlier on Monday, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets killed several militants in a series of air strikes in a tribal region along the Afghan border.

According to the ISPR, the attacks targeted militant hideouts in the Wucha Bibi area of North Waziristan Agency. During a search operation in the Frontier Region (FR) Tank on Monday, four militants affiliated with a banned organisation were killed in a clash with the security forces, local sources said.

The security forces were conducting a search operation in the Ping area in FR Tank when they encountered militants affiliated with the Shaheen Group of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The militants opened fire on the security forces, inviting retaliation. As a result, a prominent militant identified as Umar, son of the TTP's late commander Asmatullah Shaheen, along with his fighters Zalamdin, Zaman alias Tofan and Wasiullah were killed.

The security forces also arrested a suspect, but his identity was not disclosed.  The hideouts of militants were also destroyed during the operation that continued for several hours. 

Arms and ammunition were also seized during the search operation. Meanwhile, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday said enhanced security arrangements along the Pakistan-Afghan border were meant to fight against terrorists of all hue and colour, who were the common enemies.

Chairing a high-level security meeting at the General Headquarters, he said: "Pakistan and Afghanistan have fought against terrorism and shall continue this effort together," the Inter Services Public Relations said.

Gen Bajwa directed effective border coordination and cooperation with the Afghan security forces to prevent cross-border movement of terrorists and criminals. He welcomed recent proposals from Afghan authorities to take forward the mutual coordination for result-oriented efforts against terrorism.