Pakistan complains to NATO over Taliban cross-border raid
Pakistan has complained to Afghan and NATO forces over a cross-border militant raid that killed 27 security personnel and eight civilians, DPA reported.
In a statement late Thursday Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said that a message had been conveyed to the Afghan ambassador expressing "strong concern on the cross-border attack launched from the territory of Afghanistan in Dir by some 300-400 militants who attacked villages and burnt schools."
A similar message was sent to NATO and US officials.
Armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, the militants raided the remote Shaltalo checkpoint in the Upper Dir district in the north-western province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday.
During a two-day battle they killed 27 policemen and members of Levies, a tribal border police force, and eight civilians. According to officials, some 46 Taliban fighters also died in the fighting.
Militants torched two school buildings and several houses and blew up a bridge as they besieged three mountain villages.
The attackers were believed to be from a Pakistani Taliban group that fled the Malakand region of which Upper Dir is a part after government forces launched an offensive in early 2009.
They retreated to their hideouts in the Afghan province of Kunar on Thursday after the assault.
The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is porous, making it easier for Afghan Taliban to conduct cross-border raids against Afghan and NATO forces from their bases in the Pakistani tribal region. Afghan Taliban have seldom crossed into Pakistan for a raid on government forces.
Pakistan has regularly faced criticism for being unable to stop cross-border raids by Taliban into Afghanistan, but this is the first time it has complained about a militant raid on its soil from across the frontier.
The Pakistani statement "stressed the need for stern action by the Afghan Army, US and NATO/ISAF forces in the area against militants and their hideouts in Afghanistan and against organizational support for the militants."