7 Pakistani Soldiers ‘Beheaded’ by Afghan Militants

Peshawar: The Pakistani military said Monday that seven soldiers had been beheaded by militants who infiltrated from Afghanistan, lashing out at Kabul over cross-border attacks.

The military had already reported that six soldiers were killed in gunbattles with militants Sunday who crossed from Afghanistan into the northwestern district of Upper Dir, a key border transit route that neighbours the Swat valley where Pakistan defeated a local Taliban insurgency in 2009.

Intelligence officials blamed the attack on loyalists of Pakistani cleric Maulvi Fazlullah, who fled to Afghanistan after losing control of Swat to the army.

But on Monday, a military official said 11 soldiers had also gone missing, “out of whom seven soldiers have been reportedly killed and then beheaded”.

The bodies have not been found, but intelligence intercepts indicated that they had been killed, said the senior military official.

The army said more than 100 militants “from a safe haven across the border” attacked troops on patrol. It claimed to have killed 14 militants.

Two rockets and sniper fire were also fired into Lower Dir on Monday, said the official.

Earlier, some reports had put the number of security personnel killed at 10, whereas another report said six were killed with 10 reported to be missing.

Updated reports put the total number of soldiers killed at 13, including the seven now reported to be beheaded in captivity.

Pakistan lodges protest

Pakistan lodged a protest with Nato and Afghan forces Monday, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan, a military official said.

The army “has strongly protested with their counterparts across the border for not taking action against miscreants present in safe haven in Afghanistan,” said the military official.

The foreign ministry said the deputy head of Afghan mission was called to the Foreign Office and a strong protest was lodged on “the intrusion of militants from the Afghan side into Pakistani territory.” The Afghan diplomat was informed that “the government of Afghanistan should take appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of similar incidents in future,” it said.

The Pakistani prime minister on Monday also condemned the attacks and said he would discuss the matter with President Hamid Karzai.

“Pakistan has strongly protested with Afghanistan on the cross-border attacks and I will also take up this issue with Karzai,” Raja Pervez Ashraf told reporters in Karachi.

His office, however, did not elaborate on when such a conversation might take place.

Fazlullah Wahidi, governor of Kumar province, said militants were based in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. “We don’t have any information about militants crossing the border from Afghanistan to attack troops in Pakistan,” he said.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said it was aware of the report, but had no information.

More attacks threatened

The Malakand faction of the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility of the incident, and has threatened more attacks.

“Our fight will continue until the establishment of sharia law in Pakistan … We will fight whoever tries to stand in our way,” Sirajuddin Ahmad, the faction’s spokesman, told Reuters.

Ahmad claimed the group had killed 17 Pakistani soldiers.

The Malakand, or Swat, Taliban are led by Maulvi Fazlullah, who was the Pakistan Taliban leader in the Swat Valley, about 100 miles northwest of Islamabad, before a 2009 army offensive forced him to flee.

Also known as FM Mullah for his fiery radio broadcasts, he regrouped in Afghanistan and established strongholds, according to the Pakistan military.

Fazlullah re-emerged as a threat last year, when his fighters conducted cross-border raids that killed around 100 Pakistani security forces, angering Pakistan, which faces threats from multiple militant groups.

COAS Inaugurates Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Bridge In Barrikot, Swat

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Barrikot, Swat, today to inaugurate Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Bridge. The bridge which connects 15 towns and 45 villages, was completely washed away during floods of 2010.

Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani along with the ambassador of UAE to Pakistan, His Excellency Essa Abdulla Al Basha Al Noaimi during inauguration of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Bridge at Barrikot, Swat on Friday

The bridge is one of the projects undertaken by FWO in collaboration with United Arab Emirates in KPK. UAE is providing considerable assistance for infrastructure development in areas affected by War against Terror. Economic activities generated by such projects will bring immediate relief to the people of the area and also, in longer run, combat militancy by providing the youth with viable employment opportunities.

A group photo of Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani along with the ambassador of UAE to Pakistan, His Excellency Essa Abdulla Al Basha Al Noaimi .

The ambassador of UAE to Pakistan, His Excellency Essa Abdulla Al Basha Al Noaimi, as well as dignitaries from UAE Embassy and UAE Pakistan Assistance Programme (UPAP) and notables from the area were also present on the occasion. COAS thanked the Ambassador for the generous assistance of UAE and efforts to cement the abiding friendship between the people of the two countries. He also appreciated the efforts of the rank and file of FWO, for providing speedy and quality construction work in far flung areas, often amidst dangerous working conditions.
On arrival, COAS was received by Commander Peshawar Corps, Lieutenant General Khalid Rabbani and other senior officers.

Pak Army Has Successfully Repulsed Terrorist Attacks In Chitral: GOC Swat

Swat: General Officer Commanding Swat Major General Ghulam Qamar said on Saturday that the army has successfully repulsed various attacks of terrorists on Pak-Afghan borders areas in Chitral district in the recent past and inflicted heavy losses on the intruders.

Addressing a function of certificate distribution among 139 people who obtained technical training at Pak Army institute ‘Mashaal’ and talking to media men, the GOC said that terrorists were on the run and they have no place to hide in Malakand division. They have no chance to regroup in Malakand, he added.

He said that the Pakistan army has on many occasions repulsed attacks of terrorists on border areas in Chitral district and inflicted heavy losses of both men and material.

“We will not allow anyone to violate our territory and anyone trying to intrude into our soil will be crushed”, he added.

Those obtaining technical training at the Mashaal institute and passed out were those who have given up militancy and became useful citizens of the society, the GOC beamed. They will now earn their livelihood in a dignified manner and would play their role in eliminating militancy from their areas, he added. Commissioner Malakand Dr Fakhre Alam, DIG Akhtar Hayat Khan, DCO Kamran Rehman, Brigadier Sajjad, Brigadier Shahbaz, officials of the civil administration and elders of the area attended the august function.

In all 1040 people were given training during last two years at the Mashaal institute, run by the army for people who were found involved in militancy related activities. The people are provided training in different trades including computer technology.

via Express Tribune