Cross-border attacks

The video of the cold-blooded murder of 16 police personnel released by the Taliban on Monday is indeed spine chilling. The policemen were captured during a cross-border raid in the northwestern Dir district on June 1 by militants coming from Afghanistan. The video showed a Taliban commander delivering a brief speech before the execution in which he accused the policemen of ‘brutally’ killing six children in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat. Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major-General Athar Abbas has confirmed the contents of the video.

Cross-border infiltration, attacks and raids have become frequent of late. The Pakistan military launched an offensive against al Qaeda and the Taliban in the northwestern areas, which compelled the miscreants to flee from Agencies like South Waziristan, Bajaur, Kurram, Mohmand, etc, to safe havens across the border with Afghanistan. The withdrawal of the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops from remote outposts in these Afghan areas gave space to the terrorists to build safe havens and launch cross-border attacks on check posts in Pakistan. These safe havens are also being used to launch attacks on the US and NATO troops, as the Afghan security forces have yet to regain control over the border areas. Killings and clashes on both sides of the border continue.

On Tuesday, four Pakistani soldiers were killed when mortar shells fired from Afghanistan hit a military border post while in another attack two other soldiers were wounded in South Waziristan. These incidents have raised tensions between the two countries.Recently, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to devise a strategy to combat cross-border terrorism in each other’s countries. But this has not been backed by any serious action. The jihadi proxies whom Pakistan has been nurturing for the last 40 years are now hitting us back. Their safe havens have become a threat for our own security and the brutal killing of 16 Pakistan police personnel is a horrible manifestation of this phenomenon.

Pakistan shares a huge border with Afghanistan, which is porous, mountainous, with difficult terrain. At one time, Pakistan used to have the luxury of having local tribes defending these areas along the western border and did not have to make heavy deployments of security personnel. But after the US invasion of Afghanistan and the spread of the Taliban infection on the Pakistan side, the traditional tribal leadership has been decapitated by the Taliban. It is uncertain whether this historical arrangement will work now. Paramilitary troops need to be further deployed to avoid such incursions in future. – Dailytimes