Monday Feb 03 2020
Web Desk

Seven of a family killed as mortar fired from Afghanistan hits house in Pakistan

Web Desk
Soldiers keep vigil next to newly fenced border with Afghanistan. Photo: File 

KHAR: A mortar shell fired from Afghanistan hit a house in a border village in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Sunday, killing seven people who were members of the same family, officials said.

"The mortar fired from Afghanistan hit the house of local villager Fazal Ghani. He along with his wife and five other members of the family died on spot," senior police official Gulzar Khan told AFP.

The dead included three women, three children and the head of the family. The incident took place in Batwaar Bangro village, some 50 kilometre from Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district. 

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Khan said police and rescue officials helped the villagers retrieve dead bodies when they reached the site. "The house (was) completely destroyed in the attack," Khan said.

Anwar ul Haq, a senior government official in the area, confirmed the incident and the death toll and said the mortar was fired from Kunar province, across the border in Afghanistan.

Haq said the mortar collapsed the roof of the house, killing the family members. Islamabad this week briefly closed the Torkham border crossing after a mortar fired from Afghanistan landed in Pakistan. 

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All seven tribal districts in Pakistan were once a focal point in the global war on terror but were brought under the control of Pakistani authorities after the passage of legislation in 2018 backed by major political parties.

Security has improved in the region in recent years, with the army carrying out multiple operations there. Terrorist attacks in Pakistan from across the border with Afghanistan have also decreased.

UN expresses concern about growth of terror

Photo: File

A report by the United Nations had last week endorsed a long-standing claim by the Pakistan government about the country being a victim of cross-border terrorism emanating from Afghanistan.

The report, released by the Monitoring Team of UN Security Council expressed concern over the growth of terrorist organizations in Afghanistan and their impact on the region, reported Radio Pakistan.

Pakistan has consistently maintained that certain terrorist elements have been targeting Pakistan from their bases in Afghanistan. These attacks have resulted in loss of lives and property in the country. 

Also read: Afghan Taliban attack leaves 10 policemen dead in northern Afghanistan

In the report released last week, the Monitoring Team of the UN specifically mentioned that the Tehreek-e-Taliban and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar regularly attack Pakistani border posts from their bases in Afghanistan.

Diplomatic sources say that the fact that there was no negative reference about Pakistan in the report was a testimony to the international recognition of Pakistani actions against terrorism.

With additional input from AFP