Muhammad Khurshid / OpEd News.com – 2008-04-24 23:16:05
US Planes and Choppers Cross Pakistan Border,
Violating Air Space Aiding In Battle Against Rebel Forces
BAJUR AGENCY (April 24, 2008) — US-led NATO forces, Pakistani troops and militants have started exchanging fire in Bajaur Agency, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border. The clashes, which claimed the live of dozens of people, have created great terror and fear in the areas. This time the coalition against terrorism is in disarray as NATO forces and Pakistani troops also exchanged firing.
Most of the tribesmen think that this is the beginning of another war, maybe the Third World War as NATO forces, Pakistani troops and militants started attacks on each others postion. Situation in Bajaur Agency is very critical after the exchange of firing by the militants, NATO and Pakistani forces.
Newspapers reports said that Pak–Afghan border has been completely sealed. Unidentified persons attacked Afghan army fort on Wednesday and at least 18 persons including 10 attackers were killed in a retaliatory strike by Afghan army.
According to sources, 8 Afghan soldiers were killed in an attack on an army fort in the Afghan province Kunar near border of Bajaur Agency. Retaliatory strike by Afghan army killed at least 10 attackers and later Afghan forces and FC exchanged fire on Pak – Afghan border. The border was completely sealed after the incident.
ISPR has confirmed the incident saying one FC officer was killed and another was injured in firing between two forces on border. It said the incident happened due to misunderstanding.
According to an earlier report of The News International, Around a dozen militants and personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Corps were killed in aerial bombardment by US warplanes and subsequent attack by a joint ground force of Nato and Afghan National Army on Pakistani post on the Pak-Afghan border at Bajaur Agency here on Wednesday.
US planes and choppers were seen violating Pakistan’s air space in Bajaur Agency throughout the day. The attack came after Taliban targeted three Afghan border police posts near Nawapas Tuesday night.
Taliban claimed eight Afghan policemen, including their commander Shah Wali, were killed in the attack. Later, as claimed by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban planted mines in the posts and when US and Afghan National Army (ANA) officials appeared there Wednesday morning, they ignited the mines, blowing up the posts and inflicting heavy losses on the troops.
“Three US tanks were also destroyed in the attack and several US and ANA soldiers were killed,” claimed Zabihullah. US forces later resorted to aerial bombing of the border areas and killed around a dozen militants.
Taliban sources said several militants were injured in the daylong bombardment by US warplanes and gunship choppers. Bodies of militants and Afghan police personnel could not be retrieved and were still lying there as the bombing continued the whole day, they added.
Some of the seriously injured militants were rushed to Bajaur by their colleagues in private vehicles for treatment. Sources told The News that US choppers also targeted posts of Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) on the border between Bajaur and Afghanistan’s Kunar province in which several FC men were feared killed and one post was completely destroyed. They said two FC vehicles were also destroyed in the attack.
This correspondent and local tribe men witnessed US planes and choppers violating Pakistan’s airspace on a number of occasions while targeting Taliban’s suspected locations during the day.
However, Maj-Gen Athar Abbas, military spokesman and Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), when reached by telephone, told The News that only one FC man was killed and another injured in the attack on their post by the Afghan National Army.
“One FC Havaldar lost his life and a lance Naik sustained injuries when the ANA attacked Daud Qila on the border. Our troops repulsed the attack and forced them to retreat,” said Abbas. He said situation was now under control and a reconciliatory committee had started negotiations between the two sides.
However, the ISPR chief did not agree with this correspondent that the US planes and choppers had violated the Pak airspace. There was no accurate information about casualties suffered by the US and ANA.
Meanwhile, army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said, “Due to misunderstanding some exchange of fire took place between Afghan National Army troops and Frontier Corps troops on the border.” US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and local Afghan forces were now in contact with Pakistani forces to try to find out how the incident happened, Abbas said. Other officials in Pakistan said Taliban rebels had attacked Nato forces in Afghanistan early Wednesday, after which they started firing in the direction of Pakistan with heavy weapons.
Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur Agency, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is also heading Voice For Peace working against terrorism in tribal areas. The aim of the Voice For Peace is restoration of peace in Bajaur Agency, tribal areas and whole world.