Sunday Oct 15 2017

Four FC officials, including captain, martyred in Kurram Agency

Senior civil and military officials offering the funeral prayers of the martyred officials. Photo: Geo News

KURRAM: Four security officials, including a captain, were martyred and three injured in an IED blast in Kharlachi, Kurram Agency, on Sunday morning.  

Three officials were killed instantly while three were reported injured, according to the political administration of the agency. 

The bodies of the martyred officials and the injured were taken to the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Parachinar, the headquarter of Kurram Agency.

Later, one of the injured, Captain Hasnain, succumbed to his injuries. 

A search operation was launched by security forces after the incident.  

A statement by the army's media wing said the troops were part of a search party looking for the handlers of the kidnapped foreigners rescued on Wednesday.

The martyred officials were identified as Capt Husnain and sepoys Saeed Baz, Qadar Khan and Juma Gul while the injured as Naik Anwar, Sepoy Zahir and Lance Naik Sher Afzal.

Their funeral prayers were offered at the FC Ground in Parachinar where senior civil and military officials were in attendance. 

In a statement, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as well as Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned the incident. 

Bhutto called for national unity to defeat terrorism. 

Capt Husnain, Sepoy Juma Gul, Sepoy Qadar Khan and Sepoy Saeed Baz. Photo: ISPR 

Sources said following the incident, the border crossing at Kharlachi was shut down. 

On June 17, the border crossing was reopened after a four-month closure following the deadly suicide bombing at Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine in Sindh in February 2016. 

More than 80 people were killed in the attack. 

Rescue of American-Canadian couple

Talking of the recently conducted intelligence-based operation which resulted in the rescue and safe recovery of the Canadian-American couple, along with their children, Inter Services Public Relations chief Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said better intelligence sharing and cooperation can ensure better security.

Describing the operation in a press conference on Saturday, DG ISPR said a call was received by the American ambassador at 4:10pm, informing us that the family was being transferred to Pakistan. On the information we received, we sent our troops and used surveillance means to detect the vehicles transporting the hostages.

Elaborating further, Maj Gen Ghafoor said the army has a very heavy presence in the area "but obviously we dont cover every inch".

"We traced the two cars and cordoned them and fired on their vehicle. Our first priority was that the captives are brought out safely and wanted to isolate the captives and the terrorists so that the captives remain safe."

He added that the objective was to ensure the terrorists, a driver and three gunmen, don't fire on the hostages.

"Personnel of the ISI and the Army came between the terrorists and the fleeing terrorists so they could shield the hostages from gunfire. There is an Afghan refugee camp nearby, and the terrorists fled to it."

"We have been saying repeatedly that the Afghan refugees need to be sent back. It is difficult for us to distinguish who is a terrorist and who is a refugee in such situations."

After detailing the rescue operation, the Army spokesman played a clip of Joshua Boyle, one of the rescued hostage, who praised the professional conduct of the men who saved him and his family and also thanked the Pakistani Army and government for ensuring his family's safety during the rescue operation. 

On September 27 this year, four security personnel were injured when two roadside bombs exploded near their vehicle close to the Afghan border in Kurram Agency.

Officials of the political administration said the incident occurred in Shorki, Lower Kurram.

Kurram Agency borders three provinces of Afghanistan and witnesses several cross-border attacks.