KHYBER AGENCY - Eight soldiers of the Frontier Corp (FC) were martyred and five militants killed when a group of militants Thursday night attacked a security checkpoint in tehsil Jamrud of Khyber Agency.
It was midnight when militants equipped with sophisticated arms attacked the check post situated at Malik Shaga, Ghundi area. Four FC soldiers were also wounded in the assault that continued for at least two hours.
The militants bombarded the checkpoint with rocket-propelled grenades, two senior military officials said, before overrunning and ransacking it. The paramilitaries came under fire by militants at around 1:00am local time, a senior security official said.
In the retaliatory action security forces claimed of killing five militants and arresting three others. Two vehicles of the security forces were also destroyed in the fight, official sources said. Another official said that around a dozen attackers escaped from the scene.
Soon after the incident the security forces imposed curfew in the area and a door-to-door search was started. The people of the area were asked to remain in their homes. In the morning, the forces began a full-fledged search operation in the area to trace out the suspected militants. Eleven suspected persons were arrested in the search operation so far, sources said.
The FC personnel killed or injured were from Swat Scouts and have been deployed for the security of Shagai and Jamrud areas, official sources said. It has also been learnt from the local sources that the attackers might have fled to Regi area of Peshawar after committing the crime; however, the official sources did not confirm it.
Jamrud area of Khyber Agency has been a hot bed for militant activities in the last few months, which has disturbed the authorities and the local population as well. The government employees, particularly those serving in forces, have been warned by militants either to leave jobs or face the consequences.
The attack, for which no militant group has so far claimed responsibility, comes amid a military offensive to push the Taliban out of North Waziristan, a remote northwestern region near the border with Afghanistan. North Waziristan was considered the key stronghold of the Taliban after other areas in Pakistan had been mostly cleared of militants.
But residents say most militants moved out before the Pakistani army announced its offensive last month, raising fears that they may now be beefing up their presence in other areas. "The militants displaced from North Waziristan have returned to the Khyber Agency and started attacks on security forces," said one security official.
The Khyber Agency is part of the semiautonomous areas where tribal law holds sway instead of Pakistan's judicial system, and the government is represented by a political agent. Khyber is about 48 km north of North Waziristan, and also borders Afghanistan. Analysts have warned that the operation would likely lead to reprisal attacks in Pakistan's major cities at the hands of sleeper cells of militant outfits linked to the Taliban.
INP adds: A jawan of Frontier Constabulary (FC) martyred in militants attack on security check post in Jamrud was laid to rest in Kohat with military honours.
A large number of people including family members, relatives and security officials attended the funeral prayers of the martyred Israr Khan.
The family members of Israr Khan said that they were proud of him as he sacrificed his life to defend the country and its people.