45 killed in cross-border raid by Afghan Taliban militants

As many as 20 militants were also killed in the attack in northern Chitral district early this morning.

The Pakistan army confirmed that 25 security men were killed when hundreds of militants from Afghan territory attacked seven border checkpoints.

An army statement said that security forces personnel including 16 paramilitary 'Frontier Scouts', 4 policemen and 5 local militia 'Levies' were killed when 200-300 militants from across Afghanistan attacked seven check posts in Chitral.

"Own security personnel defended the posts by engaging the attackers and reportedly 20 terrorists were killed. However, two border posts were overrun by the terrorists," the statement said.

Reinforcements have been sent to beef up the border posts, the statement from the army's Inter-Services Public Relations said.

The statement said Taliban militants from Afghanistan's Kunar and Nooristan Provinces launched the attack.

It said militants from Pakistan's northwestern Swat valley, Dir district and Bajaur tribal region organised by militant leaders Maulvi Fazlullah and Maulvi Faqir Muhammad with local Afghans attacked the security forces posts in Chitral.

"Due to scanty presence of NATO and ANA forces along Pak-Afghan border, the terrorists are using these areas as safe havens and have mounted repeated attacks against own security forces posts and isolated villages," it said.

Sources said that Fazaullah fled to Afghanistan after security forces launched a major offensive against the militants in 2009 and cleared the area. Maulvi Faqir, deputy chief of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP escaped to Afghanistan last year from Bajaur.

"Since their expulsion from their native areas, the terrorists have organised themselves in Kunar and Nooristan Provinces with the support of local Afghan authorities," the army said.

The statement said that since last one year accurate intelligence about large concentration of terrorists from Pakistan and their local Afghan supporters in Kunar and Nooristan provinces has been shared with NATO and Afghan authorities but no worth while action has been taken against the terrorists and attacks against Pakistani border posts have continued with impunity.

It is the second attack on Pakistani posts in Chitral from Afghan territory.
Pakistan army said last month that nearly 50 Pakistani soldiers and several civilians had been killed in at least five attacks on border check posts by militants who crossed into Pakistan from Afghan territory.

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