For the second time this month, armed men from Afghanistan attacked a border area in Pakistan, reportedly killing five people, including two women, and injuring several. Unlike the last two times when security posts on the border were attacked, this time the intruders picked a border village in the Bajaur tribal agency.
According to local authorities, there were over 200 intruders and they were heavily armed. Army and paramilitary troops were sent in and there were reports that some of the intruders had also been killed. Since the tribal agencies are no-go areas for journalists from outside the belt, not much information was available on whether the intruders had been pushed back or how many had been killed.
Early this month, Taliban fighters from Afghanistan, aided by their Pakistani Taliban counterparts, had attacked a security post in the Upper Dir area of Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa. And, in April, there was a similar incursion in the Lower Dir area from the Kunar province of Afghanistan.
These border incursions have opened a new front for the Pakistani security forces and the matter was taken up during the high-level discussions last weekend during the visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Islamabad.
Both countries had decided to intensify military and intelligence-level cooperation besides setting up a joint task force within three weeks to check cross-border infiltration. Mr. Karzai also promised to take action if it became evident they had emanated from Afghanistan. “If those attacks have come from our side, it is our duty to stop them just as it is Pakistan's responsibility to stop attacks inside Afghanistan from Pakistani soil,” he said.
Describing the attacks as a “worrying sign” that provided more reason to work harder to remove radical elements and their sanctuaries from the region, Mr. Karzai said this [terrorism] had “gone beyond tolerance”.