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February 19, 2016

Nine Khassadars killed in Mohmand Agency attacks

Top Story

February 19, 2016

TTP faction claims responsibility; several arrested in search operation

GHALLANAI/PESHAWAR: As a fresh wave of terrorism continues to hit the country, nine Khassadar personnel were killed in two separate attacks by militants in the Mohmand Agency on Thursday, official sources said.

Naveed Akbar, an assistant political agent in Mohmand Agency, said the militants stormed the Latri checkpost in the Karappa area in Pandyali tehsil early in the day and killed seven Khassadars, the tribal security personnel who are lightly armed and inadequately trained. The slain Khassadars were identified as Naseer Khan, Farhad, Bin Yameen, Zakir, Anwar Khan, Rad Khan and Multanay.

The militants escaped from the area after killing the Khassadars. There was no word as to how they reached their targets and managed to escape.

Separately, the militants attacked a solar tubewell in Darwazgai village of the Michini area in Ekkaghund Tehsil and killed two Khassadar personnel who were on duty. Assistant Political Agent Naveed Akbar said that the bodies of the slain were shifted to the Agency Headquarters Hospital in the Ghallanai town.

In a statement later, the Jamaatul Ahrar faction of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attacks. Its spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, in a phone call using an Afghan SIM, told reporters that their fighters had killed nine Khassadar personnel in the two attacks.

Jamaatul Ahrar is a splinter group of the TTP and is headed by Omar Khalid Khorasani, whose real name is Abdul Wali and is presently based in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

Official sources said security forces and other law-enforcement agencies later started a search operation from Darwazgai and Michini to Aqrab Daag area of the Mohmand Agency. The sources said at least six suspects were arrested during the search operation. They added that the police, with the assistance of security forces, also carried out a search operation in the disputed villages of Shabqadar tehsil in Charsadda along the boundary with the Mohmand Agency.

The funeral prayers for the deceased Khassadars were offered at the Levies Camp in Ghallanai, the headquarters of Mohmand Agency. The newly posted political agent Mahmood Aslam Wazir and other officials were present on the occasion.

A guard of honour was also presented to the martyred Khassadars, all hailing from the Mohmand Agency. The bodies were later shifted to their respective villages for burial. Moving scenes were witnessed on the occasion.

Security at all the entry and exit points of Mohmand Agency, where a major military operation against the militants was carried out some years ago, was beefed up and soldiers were directed to check everyone passing through the checkposts.

This was the second terrorist attack in the area in less a month. Last month on January 20, as many as 22 people, mostly students, were killed when militants attacked the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, about 50 kilometres from the site of the Thursday’s attacks in Mohmand Agency.

A day earlier on January 19, another 11 people were killed, mostly Khassadar personnel, and more than 20 were wounded when a bomb exploded near a security checkpost at the Karkhano Market. The mainstream Mullah Fazlullah group of the TTP had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Acting Governor Asad Qaiser condemned the attacks and expressed his deep shock and sorrow over the loss of precious lives.

In a statement, he expressed heartfelt sympathies with the members of the bereaved families and the injured and termed the attacks as cowardly acts of terror. The acting governor said such attacks could not deter the national resolve to eliminate militancy and terrorism. He said those targeting innocent people deserve no leniency and will be brought to justice at any cost. He said the nation stood united with the military in the war against terrorism and the terrorists would be defeated with the force of unity.

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