Saturday, October 22, 2011


1,000 families leave Bara as army prepares for operation

* PDMA says arrangements made to accommodate internally displaced persons in Jalozai camp

Staff Report,
PESHAWAR: At least 1,000 families of Malikdeenkhel and Sipah areas on Friday left their homes for ‘safer places’ as the security forces were ready to launch an all-out operation against terrorists in Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency, officials said.

The political administration made announcements through loudspeakers, warning the residents to move to safer places, tribal sources told Daily Times, adding that the move came after the Frontier Corps moved tanks into Bara tehsil on Wednesday evening to launch “targeted operation” against Lashkar-e-Islam terrorists who inflicted casualties on the security forces early this week.

“The security forces have asked us to inform the civilians in the two designated places to leave homes by 3pm,” the administration officials were quoted as saying.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said it made all arrangements to accommodate internally displace people (IDPs) in Jalozai camp.

“Hundred-plus families have arrived in the camp on Friday while tents pitching has been started,” a statement from the PDMA said.

Meanwhile, guns were silent on Friday after a bloody Thursday clash leaving 34 terrorists and five soldiers killed, including a young captain who lost his lives in the battle for control of Bara tehsil where security situation went from bad to worse threatening Peshawar security as well.

On Thursday, a ‘targeted operation’ was launched in Malikdeenkhel, leaving 34 terrorists and three paramilitary soldiers killed as tanks were moved in to quell the rising tide of militancy, a government official said.

“We have launched a targeted operation in Malikdeenkhel on Thursday,” Frontier Corps (FC) regional spokesman told Daily Times.

The operation comes days after security forces suffered nine casualties in a militant-led attack on their convoy in Bara, which also resulted in the killing of several militants.

“Around 34 terrorists were killed besides three soldiers, and eight were injured during an encounter in Shalobar area of tehsil Bara,” a statement from FC Headquarters in Peshawar read.

It said that terrorists attacked FC soldiers while they were carrying out search operation in the area. “Security forces responded effectively,” it added.

Eyewitnesses said a number of FC and army manned tanks were seen crossing into Khyber tribal region Thursday evening. “I have seen many tanks moving to Khyber via Karkhano Market,” Sajid Khan, a local vendor, told Daily Times.

Malikdeenkhel, Sipah, Akhakhel and Qambarkhel areas are regarded as strongholds of a private militia, Lashkar-e-Islam, according to the government officials.

“Gunship helicopters are also shelling the targets,” local residents were quoted as saying. However, there was no official confirmation.

Lashkar-e-Islam is the most active militant group in Khyber and led by feared warlord Mangal Bagh. It has loose ideological ties to the Taliban, but operates independently.

At least nine soldiers of the paramilitary forces were killed and three others were injured in an attack in Bara tehsil near Peshawar on Monday, official sources said.

Around 14 terrorists were also killed in the incident, which the sources put as one of the deadliest attack on the forces in recent times.

“It was an ambush in the afternoon. It continued for two to three hours, and there have been casualties in the ambush. There have been killings of the terrorists as well,” military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said.

Security situation in Khyber region has deteriorated in the wake of continued presence of private militias and Taliban groups using the region to mount pressure on Peshawar to win concession from the government, the sources said

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