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Posts Tagged Indo-Zionist Nexus in Afghanistan

Indo-US-Afghan collusion hinders peace by Asif Haroon Raja

Indo-US-Afghan collusion hinders peace

 

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pakistan’s strained relations with India-Afghanistan

Pakistan’s bilateral relations with its eastern and western neighbours severely deteriorated after Narendra Modi led BJP took over power in June 2014. From 2015 onwards the two arch rivals have been engaged in low-intensity war. The Line of Control and Working Boundary in Kashmir has been kept bloody and on the boil by India. Terrorism in Baluchistan and FATA that had been controlled has been reinvigorated by India. She is resorting to covert war, water terrorism and hybrid war in collusion with Afghanistan. Nefarious activities of the duo are fully backed by USA and Israel.

Indian Prime Minister Modi used anti-Pakistan slogans for rallying the support of radicalized Hindus during the last state elections in India and later for national elections. He blamed Pakistan to hide his internal weaknesses and socio-economic failures. Ashraf Ghani-Abdullah Unity Government in Kabul has also constantly blamed Pakistan to camouflage its failure of establishing its writ in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

Despite the baseless allegations, the Pakistani ruling elite continues with its efforts to engage both the neighbours constructively for regional peace and prosperity and has considered the policy of appeasement as the best option to keep the two antagonists as well as the USA in good humour. Though Islamabad did its best to engage constructively with both New Delhi and Kabul, yet it failed due to Modi’s domestic political priorities and President Ghani’s internal political and security challenges.

RAW-NDS collusion

The bloody terrorist attacks in Lahore in February 2017 followed by another attack on a Sufi shrine in Sindh sponsored by RAW-NDS forced Pakistan to launch Operation Raddul Fasaad to complement Operation Zarb-e-Azb to destroy the terrorist sanctuaries located on Afghanistan-Pakistan border as well as sleeping cells in urban centres and to nab facilitators and handlers. In addition, Pakistan intensified its border management undertakings. The two main border crossings at Torkhum and Chaman were closed and border management improved to prevent infiltration.

In April 2017, Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesperson of the Tehreek-e-Taliban’s (TTP) splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, surrendered to Pakistan Army. He claimed that RAW and NDS were supporting terrorist groups by imparting training and providing funds, weapons, equipment and intelligence to subvert the internal security of Pakistan. Pak Army is now fencing the entire length of western border much to the chagrin of USA, India, Afghanistan, the three states sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan. Concurrently, Islamabad is endeavouring to convince the Taliban to hold talks with Unity regime in Kabul.

BJP’s hate-filled politics

The biggest problem while dealing with New Delhi is the prevalent xenophobic domestic Indian political atmosphere. From 2017 till May 2019 elections, Premier Modi used warmongering as a tactic for mustering the support of radicalized hawkish Hindu voters and to win the elections comprehensively. With this objective, his party adopted a vicious policy against the Indian Muslims. 

The BJP’s hate-filled politics against the minorities, particularly the Muslims, due to which lynching of Muslims and low-caste Dalits for eating beef and slaughtering and trading in cattle had risen, adding to the anxiety of India’s 170-million-strong Muslim population, didn’t dent BJP vote bank or the popularity of Modi among near 80% Hindus. Under Modi, several cities with names rooted in India’s Islamic Mughal past have been re-named, while some school textbooks have been changed to downplay Muslims’ contributions to India. The trend of marrying Muslims girls by Hindus is on the increase and so is the process of Hinduization. 

Kashmir imbroglio

Kashmir is the bleeding wound of India where its 750,000 are pinned down since 1990. After the martyrdom of Burhan Wani in July 2016, Indian security forces and the RSS gangs unleashed a reign of terror and employed all sorts of horribly cruel tools including pellet guns to crush the movement. The innocent Kashmiris have been persistently suffering from the brutality of the Indian armed forces. After Pulwama incident, the level of atrocities has increased. Despite the worst type of state terrorism and human rights abuses, the Indian civilian and military law enforcement agencies have failed to restore the writ of the state in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). The demoralization among the lower ranks has set in as was seen in 2004-05 and cases of suicides are multiplying.

Modi has made plans to rob IOK of its special status by revoking Article 370. He also has devious plans up his sleeves to change the demography of IOK by settling Hindu Pundits, Indian retired officers and soldiers and Kashmiri refugees; and also to carry out ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri youth or force them to leave IOK. 

Kulbushan discomforts India

Another major irritant which has greatly upset India is the arrest of Indian Naval Officer, Commander Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav on March 3, 2016, in Baluchistan. He had been working for RAW at Chahbahar since 2003. The death sentence awarded to him by the military court in 2017 has further disturbed RAW and Indian hawks. Kulbushan admitted that he was involved in terrorism and other subversive activities and had established big networks in Baluchistan and Karachi. Indians have been seeking his release but Pakistan has not relented. This could be one reason for India’s constant browbeating tactics and refusing to talk with Pakistan.

Hindutva

The other reason is BJP’s penchant for Hindutva. The resumption of a dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad is not acceptable to the preachers and followers of Hindutva.

India’s leniency toward Hindu terror groups

While India has all along accused Pakistan of abetting terrorism without providing a shred of evidence and has constantly pressed Pakistan to punish the proscribed groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e Taiba and Jamaatud Dawa, allegedly involved in terrorism in India and IOK and has succeeded in blacklisting them, India has always been lenient towards its own Hindu terrorists groups which over 1000.

On June 13, the Bombay High Court granted bail to the accused – Dhan Singh, Lokesh Sharma, Manohar Narwaria and Rajendra Chaudhary, who were in prison since 2013. Four Hindu suspects, who were prime accused in the 2006 terror bombing case that killed 37 people in a Muslim town of Malegaon.

The serial bomb blasts near a mosque had also injured 100 people. Local police initially arrested nine Muslims, accusing them of engineering blasts. But, when the probe was shifted to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), it concluded that the blasts were carried out by the Hindu extremists.

In connection with another terror attack in Bhopal in 2008, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and former Lt Col Srikanth Purohit were arrested in connection with the incident. Both of them are out on the bail. Thakur recently won parliamentary elections, she contested on the ruling BJP ticket, from Bhopal.

Swami Aseemanand (real name Naba Kumar), linked to RSS is an ideological mentor of BJP. He and three other co-accused Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary were blamed for three terror attacks. All four who had confessed their crimes were acquitted early this year by an anti-terror court in Haryana in the February 18, 2007 bombing of the Samjhota Express that left 86 people dead, mostly Pakistanis. Last year Aseemanand was among five men acquitted in the 2007 blast in Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid. In 2017, he was acquitted in the Ajmer Dargah blast case. An Indian court has now ordered the release of four Hindu suspects, who were prime accused in the 2006 terror bombing case in Malegaon.

It has now been amply proved that the much-publicized Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, was an in-house affair. Till today, India has consistently blamed Pakistan and has refused to open dialogue until and unless Pakistan agrees to keep terrorism over the issue of Kashmir.

Books written on this subject – namely ‘Betrayal of India’ by Elios Davidson, ‘The Attack on Mumbai’ by Vir Sanghvi, and ‘’The Siege’ by Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrien Levy have laid bare the truth that it was a joint venture of RAW-Mossad and CIA to discredit Pak Army and Kashmiri movement and to get Pakistan declared a terrorist state. And yet India has never been questioned. Same is the case with false flag operation in Udhampur, Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama, all engineered to hide the cruelties of India in IOK and to dub the liberation movement in Kashmir as Islamic radicalism duly supported by Pakistan.

Pakistan has ample proofs

With Kulbushan and Ehsanullah have divulged the entire racket of RAW-NDS against Pakistan with its tentacles spread from Iran, Pakistan’s coastal belt to Afghanistan, what more proof is needed to prove that the duo backed by the USA are the real source of instability in Af-Pak region and much-maligned Pakistan is the victim of terrorism.

India’s jingoism

The biggest problem while dealing with New Delhi is the prevalent jingoistic domestic Indian political atmosphere. Premier Modi, during the last year state elections campaign, used warmongering as a tactic for mustering the support of radicalized hawkish Hindu voters. The BJP secured a majority in the important state elections and constituted its governments. The campaign, however, amplified anti-Pakistan feelings in Indian society.

BJP’s landslide victory

Modi led BJP surprised the world by bagging 303 votes in the Lower House of 543. The BJP’s main rival Congress, couldn’t win a single seat in 13 states and five union territories. Congress managed to secure 52 seats only which was an 8-seat improvement over last elections. Rahul Gandhi – the great-grandson, grandson and son of three premiers, even lost his own seat in Amethi, a family bastion but managed to win a seat in Kerala. Congress BJP’s landslide win has crushed the Gandhi dynasty’s comeback hopes. Rahul tamely threw in his towel after the election results were announced.

Modi’s victory attributable to Pakistan bashing

Modi achieved a landslide victory because of his Pakistan rhetoric, aggressive policies against Indian Muslims and Kashmiri Muslims, and lies and false promises and not on performance. He won despite being likened to Hitler, a compulsive liar and a “gutter insect”, alleged corruption in a Rafael defense deal, the desperate plight of farmers, the lackluster economy and humiliations suffered at the hands of Pakistan in September 2016 on account of fake surgical strike, and then in the aftermath of stage-managed Pulwama attack in February 2019. In fact, killings of over 40 soldiers in Pulwama on February 14 incensed the Hindus, escalated Hindu extremism and further bolstered BJP’s votes.

 

 

 

 

The air intrusion in Balakot on February 27 was a complete fiasco since the Mirage 2000s with Israel-made Spyke missiles could uproot few pine trees only, but Modi helped by Indian media claimed it as a roaring success, falsely claiming destruction of Jaish-e-Muhammad camp and killing over 300 militants. He roared, “Wherever the terror groups and perpetrators may hide, our security forces will flush them out and punish them. Every drop of blood of our slain soldiers shall be avenged.”

These high-sounding rhetoric made the Indian public ecstatic and hysteric. Exploiting their sentiments, Modi named himself as the Chowkidar (Watchman) and the only who can defend India and make it great.

 

Indo-Afghan hostility hinders peace  

Surely, the continuity of such collusive nefarious activities of NDS-RAW would not be tolerable for the sake of dialogue process. Although the Afghan Unity Government constantly levels baseless allegations against Pakistan to camouflage its own failure, yet Islamabad is determined to engage Kabul for cordial bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

India has inflicted tens of thousands of cuts on the body of Pakistan and has openly expressed her desire to break Pakistan into four parts, and yet Pakistani leadership is bending over backwards to resume dialogue with India which has been wholly unproductive due to Indian intransigence and deep-rooted hatred.

Will Modi fulfil his promises? 

Now that Modi is firmly in the saddle, will he fulfil his unaccomplished promises? Will he be able to make India Great as claimed by him? Will he be able to tackle the economy and unemployment which has surged up particularly among the women? Will he create a higher number of jobs needed? Can he address wealth inequalities? The agriculture industry is also in an awful state. Drought, low prices of agriculture products and heavy debts have driven thousands of farmers to commit suicide. The country’s waterways are filthy and India is home to 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities. Open latrines and millions sleeping on footpaths are other unresolved problems. Religious minorities – including India’s 170 million Muslims – are terrified and feeling insecure.

Will he continue persecuting the minorities or balm their wounds to integrate the heterogeneous society which is an ethnic museum? Will he exploit his brute majority to revoke Article 370 and make IOK integral part of India, or allow the Kashmiris their right of self-termination? Will he continue to tread on the beaten path of jingoism, whipping up war hysteria and keeping the people mesmerized in a mythical world in pursuit of his mission to make Pakistan a compliant state, and become a world power, or else adopt a saner approach and adopt a reconciliatory approach in the overall interest of South Asia?

India has once again shown her mindset by trying to influence FATF to blacklist Pakistan. China, Turkey and Malaysia thwarted the baleful move. India can never achieve her ambitions by beating war drums and adopting a confrontationist approach.   

It is most unfortunate that the US-Israel-Afghan-India nexus is a collection of spoilers who have chosen the path of hostility, which is bound to lead to catastrophic results. Sudden rise in temperature in the Persian Gulf stoked by the USA has added to the gravity of the situation. Conversely, Russia-China-Central Asian Republics-Pakistan and ASEAN vie for co-existence, peace and collective prosperity and are placing their hopes in BRI and CPEC.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have suffered a great deal on account of wars imposed by outsiders in Afghanistan and making Pakistan a frontline state. Both earnestly need peace. No peace is possible in the region without the resolution of the dispute in Kashmir and end of the war in Afghanistan. Therefore, it’s imperative that Russia, China, Turkey, Iran should play a constructive role in resolving the two issues.

Modi seems to have climbed down the high horse he was riding and has asked Pakistan to rebuild trust and develop enabling environment for progress in ties. This whiff of fresh air has come in response to two letters written by Imran Khan. He, however, once again reiterated that for cooperative ties, it was important to build an environment free of terror, violence and hostility. Coming months will indicate the seriousness of Modi’s apparent desire for re-engagement. 

To conclude, the mistrust hinders constructive engagement. Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan need to appreciate the usefulness of the connectivity between the neighbours for the prosperity of their people. All three should disperse the clouds of distrust and hatred and build trust, bring in amity and cooperation. Enduring peace and stability in South Asia hinge on the resolution of the long-pending dispute of Kashmir and end of the war in Afghanistan.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, member CWC and Think Tank Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society, member Executive Council Tehreek Jawanan Pakistan. asifharoonraja@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

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TALIBAN STRIKING PAKISTAN FROM AFGHANISTAN’S PROVINCES OF KUNAR & NURISTAN

Taliban Militants Striking Pakistan from Afghan Territory

Counterterrorism Center at West Point, US Military Academy

Sep 26, 2012

Author: Zia Ur Rehman

Since the start of the current Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, U.S.-led NATO forces and the Afghan government have blamed much of the violence on militants based in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Insurgents from groups such as the Haqqani network are able to plan operations from their bases located in Pakistan’s tribal areas, cross the border into Afghanistan, execute attacks, and then retreat back into the relative safety of Pakistan.

 

Yet in the last two years, the issue of cross-border attacks has become even more complicated. Pakistan itself is now victim to Pakistani Taliban militants who are sheltering in Afghanistan, crossing the border into Pakistan to conduct attacks, and then retreating back across the Afghan border.[1] Pakistani officials assert that these militants are part of the Pakistani Taliban factions that once pressed for power in the Swat Valley, but were forced to flee into Afghanistan during a successful Pakistani military operation in 2009. Pakistan believes that these militants have regrouped in the border region and are now confident enough to carry out large-scale, cross-border attacks on Pakistani targets.

Seventeen large-scale, cross-border incursions of militants from Afghanistan to Pakistan have occurred in the last six months.[2] Most of the attacks were carried out in Bajaur Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), an important agency for the Taliban and al-Qa`ida because it shares a border with Kunar Province in Afghanistan—a strategic province from which NATO forces have largely withdrawn.

This article examines the trend of Pakistani Taliban militants using Afghanistan as a staging ground for attacks in Pakistan. It reviews a few key cross-border attacks and speculates whether these operations are part of a larger Taliban strategy.

Cross-Border Attacks
In 2011, security in the border areas remained volatile, with 69 reported clashes and cross-border attacks that killed 225 people.[3] Pakistani military commander Major General Ghulam Qamar asserted that since February 2012, there have been 17 major cross-border incursions where Pakistani Taliban fighters entered Pakistan from Afghanistan to attack Pakistani interests.[4] The incursions have mainly occurred in Bajaur and Mohmand agencies in FATA and Dir and Chitral districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

On June 24, 2012, for example, an estimated 100 militants belonging to Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) entered Pakistan’s Upper Dir District from Afghanistan’s Kunar Province and killed 17 Pakistani soldiers.[5] A few days later, the militants released a video showing the severed heads of the 17 soldiers.[6] The video included a statement from Hakimullah Mehsud, the TTP’s leader, and Maulana Fazlullah, head of the TTP’s Swat chapter.

On July 12, dozens of Pakistani Taliban militants crossed from Afghanistan’s Kunar Province into Pakistan and took scores of villagers hostage, including members of an anti-Taliban militia in the Katkot area of Bajaur Agency.[7] Pakistani forces quickly surrounded the village, killing eight militants.[8]

More recently, Pakistani Taliban militants sheltering in Afghanistan attacked security checkpoints at Inkle Sar and Miskini Darra areas of Samar Bagh Tehsil in Lower Dir District on August 24.[9] The militants were reportedly members of the TTP’s Dir chapter led by Hafizullah.[10]

Also on August 24, hundreds of Pakistani Taliban militants crossed into Pakistan from Kunar Province and attacked security personnel as well as a local tribal militia known as the Salarzai Qaumi lashkar in the Batwar area of Bajaur Agency.[11] Security forces responded, which led to heavy fighting that resulted in the deaths of 30 militants and an estimated six members of the security forces.[12] Fifteen members of the security forces, however, went missing.[13] On August 31, TTP militants released a video showing the severed heads of the 15 soldiers.[14]

Taliban Hideouts in Afghanistan
Pakistani security officials and local tribal elders assert that these cross-border attacks into Pakistani territory have been executed by militants belonging to the Bajaur, Swat and Dir chapters of the TTP, with help from Afghan Taliban militants. Following the Pakistan military’s operations in Swat, Dir and Bajaur in 2009, militants led by Maulana Fazlullah were pushed out of Pakistani territory, and they reportedly fled into Kunar and Nuristan provinces in Afghanistan. From Afghanistan, they prepared for cross-border attacks on Pakistani security forces.[15] With NATO troops largely withdrawing from Kunar and Nuristan throughout 2011, Pakistani analysts suspect that the operating environment has become more conducive to Pakistani Taliban fighters.

The TTP itself has admitted that they use Afghan soil as a springboard to launch attacks on Pakistani security forces—even though the Afghan Taliban deny it.[16] Sirajuddin, a spokesperson for the TTP’s Malakand chapter, said that Maulana Fazlullah is leading militant attacks and remains in contact with Pakistani Taliban fighters based in Pakistan’s Malakand division. Sirajuddin claimed that Fazlullah commands more than 1,000 fighters who move regularly across the porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.[17] The exact number of TTP militants in Afghanistan is not known, but Pakistani Major General Athar Abbas said that 200 to 300 militants have been mounting cross-border attacks in Dir, Chitral and Bajaur.[18]

Firm evidence of the TTP’s use of Kunar Province came to light when the head of the TTP’s Bajaur chapter, Mullah Dadullah, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Shigal district of Kunar Province on August 24, 2012.[19] Dadullah, whose real name was Jamal Said, had a close association with senior members of al-Qa`ida from 2003 to 2007, according to tribal sources. He was the chief of the TTP’s moral police and head of the Taliban’s treasury.[20]

Media reports suggest that Qari Ziaur Rehman, a key al-Qa`ida commander who is from Kunar, as well as Shaykh Dost Muhammad, a Nuristan-based Afghan Taliban leader, are hosting the Pakistani Taliban militants.[21] Rehman is thought to have once been a close confidante of Usama bin Ladin and hosted him temporarily after his escape from the Tora Bora Mountains in 2001.[22] Rehman was sheltered by the Pakistani Taliban in Bajaur Agency for years, and he is now reportedly returning the favor.[23]

Broader Strategic Plan?
Some analysts believe that violence on both sides of the border is a coordinated strategy of al-Qa`ida, the TTP and the Afghan Taliban to damage ties among Islamabad, Kabul and Washington by increasing mutual distrust. Former Afghan Defense Minister Shahnawaz Tanai explained that Taliban elements in both countries helped each other during the fight against the Soviet Union, and this same cooperation extends today.[24] The TTP’s use of so-called “safehavens” in Afghanistan mirrors the Afghan Taliban’s successful use of safehavens in Pakistan.

Other experts argue that the recent rise in cross-border attacks is part of a coordinated strategy to prevent a Pakistani military operation against the Haqqani network.[25] Karachi-based security expert Raees Ahmed believes that the TTP has escalated attacks in Bajaur in response to an impending army operation in North Waziristan, which would coincide with U.S. or Afghan military action against TTP bases in Afghanistan.[26] Militants may be seeking to carve out territory in Bajaur so that they can threaten violence in the settled areas of Malakand division in case Pakistan and the United States coordinate a military offensive.[27]

Conclusion
The recent cross-border incursions on both sides of the border clearly show that Pakistan, Afghanistan and NATO have all failed to clear the strategically important border areas of militants, permitting previously dispersed extremist organizations to regroup and prepare new, large-scale attacks in both countries. Although security forces have begun operations to repel further attacks, they are unlikely to be successful until they deal collectively with the issue of cross-border militancy—a problem to which there are no easy solutions.

Zia Ur Rehman is a journalist and researcher who covers militancy in Pakistan. He has written for The Friday Times, The Jamestown Foundation, Herald and The News International, and contributed to the New York Times.

[1] “Pakistan Accuses Afghanistan of Backing Taliban Enemy,” Reuters, August 5, 2012.

[2] Daily Azadi [Swat], September 7, 2012.

[3] “Pakistan Security Report 2011,” Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, January 2012.

[4] Daily Azadi [Swat], September 7, 2012.

[5] “Taliban Release Video of Beheaded Pakistani Soldiers,” Agence France-Presse, June 27, 2012.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Militants Take Villagers Hostage in Bajaur,” Dawn, July 12, 2012.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Taliban Attack Security Posts in Lower Dir,” Express Tribune, August 24, 2012.

[10] Ibid.

[11] BBC Urdu, August 27, 2012; personal interview, member of Salarzai Qaumi Lashkar, September 3, 2012; “At Least 28 Militants Killed in Bajaur Agency,” Dawn, August 25, 2012.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Anwarullah Khan, “Militants Release Video of Beheaded Soldiers,” Dawn, September 1, 2012.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Personal interviews, elders of Salarzai Qaumi Lashkar, Khar town, Bajaur Agency, Pakistan, March 25, 2012.

[16] Tahir Khan, “Cross-Border Cooperation: Ties That Bind Militants Persist,” Express Tribune, July 8, 2011.

[17] Tahir Khan, “TTP Admits to Having Safe Haven in Afghanistan,” Express Tribune, June 26, 2012.

[18] Zia Khan and Naveed Hussain, “Border Incursions: Suspicions Grow about Afghan Support for TTP,” Express Tribune, September 11, 2011.

[19] Declan Walsh, “Pakistani Militant Leader Dies in Airstrike, NATO Says,” New York Times, August 25, 2012; Javed Hamim Kakar and Khan Wali Salarzai, “Key Haqqani, TTP Leaders Killed in Drone Strikes,” Pajhwok Afghan News, August 25, 2012.

[20] Zia Ur Rehman, “On the Borderline,” Friday Times, September 7-13, 2012.

[21] Khan, “Cross-Border Cooperation: Ties that Bind Militants Persist.”

[22] Khan and Hussain.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Khan, “Cross-Border Cooperation: Ties that Bind Militants Persist.”

[25] “Understanding with US on Joint Action Against Haqqanis,” Dawn, August 6, 2012.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Personal interview, Raees Ahmed, security analyst, Karachi, Pakistan, September 4, 2012.

 ARCHIVE ARTICLE: INFILTRATION FROM AFGHANISTAN 

Taliban raid from Afghanistan kills 25 Pakistan troops

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At least 200 Taliban fighters crossed from Afghanistan into Pakistan and killed more than 25 soldiers and police, Pakistan’s military says.

The fighters launched an early morning attack on seven military checkpoints in north-west Chitral district.

The military said its troops fought off the attackers, killing 20 of them while the rest fled back into Afghanistan.

It is the latest in a series of cross-border raids that have raised tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In its statement, the Pakistani military blamed the attack on Pakistan and Afghan Taliban-linked fighters who have sought refuge in the Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan, from which the US largely pulled out of a year ago.

It said the “scanty presence” of Nato and Afghan forces in the border areas allow “terrorists” to use those areas as “safe havens”, from which they “have mounted repeated attacks against… security forces posts and isolated villages”.

The military said 25 paramilitary soldiers and police had been killed in Saturday’s attack, but a local officials put the death toll at around 36.

 

 

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