Pakistan seriously concerned at 'militant' incursion near Afghan border


Pakistan summoned a senior Afghan diplomat on Friday and expressed its “serious concern” over a cross-border attack by militants, the foreign ministry said.

Several hundred militants crossed from Afghanistan on Thursday and targeted civilians in the Mamoond area of the lawless border tribal district of Bajaur, killing five people.

Afghan Charge d’Affaires Majnoon Gulab was “summoned to the foreign office today. A strong demarche was lodged with him on the incident, which took place on June 16,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said in a statement.

The Afghan diplomat was told that “terrorists crossed the border with Afghanistan and attacked three Pakistani villages in Bajaur.”

She said the diplomat was told of the “serious concern of the government of Pakistan. The government of Afghanistan was asked to prevent such cross-border incidents from occurring in the future.”

Afghan officials had denied that any cross-border attack took place and accused Pakistani troops of killing six people in a rocket strike on Wednesday.

It was the third attack reportedly carried out by hundreds of fighters in northwest Pakistan this month. The border is porous and ties between Afghans and Pakistanis are strained over Islamist militants in both countries.

Eight civilians were reported wounded after Pakistani officials said the militants targeted a village in Bajaur, where troops have carried out a series of offensives against Taliban and other Islamist insurgents since August 2008.

Local government official Fazle Akbar put the number of attackers at 250 to 300.

Pakistani security forces on Friday killed 11 militants during clashes in the Sarakai and Mukha areas northwest of Khar, the main town of Bajaur.

Pakistan has repeatedly claimed to have eliminated the militant threat in Bajaur, one of seven districts in the country’s semi-autonomous tribal belt that the United States sees as the global headquarters of Al Qaeda.

Earlier this month, Pakistan conveyed “strong concern” to the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad, calling for “stern action” by Afghan and US-led NATO troops to crack down on militants in eastern Afghanistan.