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Pak moves additional troops along Afghan border

October 19
03:46 2011

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has deployed additional army and paramilitary troops along its border with Afghanistan in the wake of a new push by Afghan and NATO forces against the Haqqani network that is based in the restive North Waziristan tribal region.

Regular army and Frontier Corps troops have been sent to areas along the border with Afghanistan to stop militant attacks, chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said.

Pakistan will not allow militants to carry out attacks on its check posts and border villages and kill civilians, he added.

Abbas said the additional forces were sent after NATO and Afghan forces failed to act on Pakistan’s call for action against militants responsible for cross-border attacks.

About 100 Pakistani security personnel have died in cross-border attacks by Afghanistan-based militants during the past four months, Abbas told Radio Pakistan.

The International Security Assistance Force was informed about these attacks and the location of militant hideouts in Afghanistan was pointed out but no action had been taken so far, he said.

Apparently there is no presence of the Afghan army or ISAF forces in the “vast area” from where militants were operating against Pakistan, he said.

The Dir region in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province was hit hardest by the cross-border attacks and terrorists who fled the Swat valley to escape a Pakistani military offensive were involved in these attacks, Abbas said.

The militants were launching these attacks from Afghan territory so that they could return to Swat via Dir, Abbas contended, adding all check posts along the Afghan border have been strengthened and the number of posts in Dir increased.

Abbas claimed the militants had safe havens in the Kunar, Nuristan and Ningarhar provinces of Afghanistan, where “there are no security forces”.

“It seems the militants are being supported locally and operating freely,” but added that Pakistan cannot launch any operation across the Afghan border.

“Pakistan took up the issue with the Afghan Army personnel and ISAF, but we did not see any effective operation in that area,” he said.

Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said in Kabul yesterday that “Operation Knife Edge” had been launched to “deliver a crashing blow to enemy’s capabilities to conduct operations especially terrorist operations during the winter”.

Afghan army chief Sher Mohammad Karimi said the operation was being conducted along the border because the “enemy lately operates along the border on both sides”. Other Afghan officials said it was “largely against the Haqqani network”.

NATO spokesman Capt Justin Brockhoff confirmed “enhanced official operations” were being conducted “to reduce the select insurgent network” in an eastern region that borders Pakistan.

“These networks are directly responsible for recent attacks against the people of Afghanistan and coalition forces,” said Brockhoff.

The US has accused the Haqqani network of being behind a 19-hour siege of the US embassy in Kabul, a September truck bombing on a NATO outpost that injured 77 Americans and a June attack on Kabul’s Inter Continental Hotel. -PTI



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