At least eight militants were shot dead and two Pakistani soldiers killed following a skirmish along the restive border with Afghanistan on Monday, the military said, as Islamabad tries to tighten its grip on the frontier.
“Terrorists from Afghanistan side attempted attack on Pakistani posts” along the border in Bajaur in the tribal districts of northwest Pakistan, the military said in a statement, adding that 8-10 of the attackers were killed. “Captain Junaid Hafeez and Sepoy Raham embraced shahdat while four soldiers sustained injuries,” it added. The statement did not specify when the incident happened but a security official told AFP it was on Monday.
Afghanistan’s failure to control its side of the border made it easy for “terrorists” to launch such raids, the statement added.
Islamabad and Kabul regularly accuse each other of supporting or failing to curb militants who cross the largely open border to carry out attacks. Over recent decades members of the Afghan Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other groups have operated with impunity in the region, crossing the colonial-era frontier at will.
In March Pakistan began fencing much of its border. But the fencing threatens to disrupt the daily lives of communities who have traditionally paid the frontier little heed. Villages straddle the frontier and mosques and houses have one door in Pakistan and another in Afghanistan. They now face stricter controls and must use official crossing points, which are subject to delays and frequent closures. One closure was only lifted last week after a full month.