Taliban overrun security outpost, kill 16 Pakistani troops

A large Taliban force overran a Frontier Corps checkpoint in Pakistan’s northwest, killing 16 security personnel during a protracted battle.

A heavily armed Taliban force, estimated at more than 300 fighters, assaulted an outpost in Kharakhai in the district of Lower Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa late last night, sparking a 12-hour-long battle. The outpost was manned by about 30 members from the paramilitary Frontier Corps, the Frontier Levies, and border policemen.

The Taliban overran the outpost, killing 16 Pakistani security personnel. Among those killed were nine Frontier Corps troops, three Frontier Levies, and two border policemen. Two Frontier Corps officers were also killed as the Taliban ambushed a relief force sent to help the beleaguered outpost. The Taliban are also reported to have beheaded five of the security personnel who were killed.

Pakistani forces reportedly recaptured the outpost after heavy fighting and are said to be pursuing the Taliban force.

The Taliban reportedly launched the attack from across the border in the Afghan province of Kunar, where the Taliban and al Qaeda have established safe havens after US forces withdrew from remote valleys. Some Pakistani officials claimed the Taliban force evaded operations in Pakistan’s tribal agency of Mohmand, entered Afghanistan, and then crossed back into Dir with the help of Afghan Army personnel.

Two major Taliban groups operate in the region, one commanded by Qari Zai Rahman, and another by Mullah Fazlullah.

Qari Zai Rahman is the dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda leader who operates in Pakistan’s tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand, as well as in Kunar and neighboring Nuristan province in Afghanistan. ISAF and Afghan forces have been hunting Rahman for more than a year.

Mullah Fazlullah commands the Taliban forces in the district of Swat, which borders Dir to the east. Fazlullah’s forces openly ruled Swat and neighboring districts from 2007 until April 2009, when the Pakistani military launched an operation to eject the Taliban. Fazlullah and most of his top leaders fighters evaded the operation and have sheltered along the Afghan-Pakistani border.


Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Graham says:

    I understand a lot of people here are (justifiably) enraged at Pakistan, but there’s something I want to say in advance…
    Should that sentiment extend to Pakistani soldiers? They’re just doing their job and trying to stop the “bad” Taliban who set off car bombs in Lahore, Karachi ETC. Maybe it is hypocritical, but they are at least going after those killers…

  • Soccer says:

    This attack lends credence to the “reverse safe haven” theory – militants using Afghanistan as a base to attack Pakistan, instead of the other way around. Wow, I never though it would happen like this. What a horrible way for the “reverse safe haven” theory to come to light.
    I’m curious Bill, you keep using the word ‘reportedly’. Is there any known video of this encounter? That would cast aside all doubt and suspicion of what happened.

  • madashell59 says:

    Maybe this was a ploy to show the Pakistani Govt that if we pull out, stop drone attacks, and leave the border for them to secure this is what will happen.
    I can only assume the 5 beheaded security personnel were the only ones alive or prisoners. With a 12 hour battle this could have been a good time for a MOAB. 300 Taliban BOOM! Do not know much about this ordinance other than it has a potential to level 9 city blocks. If any Taliban survived there would be some incredible stories told.

  • yash says:

    Students are killing their masters !!!!

  • Johno says:

    The highest levels of AQ are starting to sweat. This is a feint. If the company level of the assaulting force is accurate then we are looking at a major effort from the enemy. Pakistan is not the enemy – they are terrified by the fact that the US cannot solve the ‘riddle of the trenches’ and they will be left out to dry if the US fails.. The US needs to stay focused. This is the moment to avenge the victims of 9/11. The 101 st or the 82 nd Airborne have the chance to step out from the shadow of their forefathers. The DZ is Nuristan. It will make Normandy look like a picnic but going to hell and regrouping is why you join the Airborne.

  • hussain says:

    pakistan should bomb kunar

  • jean says:

    2 theories
    -There has been some pressure on the Kunar side. There has been significant activity in the Asmar/Dangam area. The bad guys wacked Malik Zarin or at least they got blamed for it. ODA types take out the new Kunar AQ HMFIC and some his bridge partners, the rest of the crew moves out for safer pastures . Dir is not far from the Dangam Pass
    – This could also be a rehearsal for a cross border operation against one of our COP/FOB; there is no prep for a PT like taking a PT test

  • rainbow says:

    Johno 300 is about 2 companies. I assumed that number is exaggerated as all numbers are over there.
    I don’t believe we have the troops to do what needs to be done there. If we would have focused in the beginning and put all our effort in the right direction we would have been successful. It would have taken 300-400,000 troops and we would have had bin laden. We wouldn’t even commit a couple of ranger battalions to the guys at tora bora….we contracted it out like idiots. I wish I was wrong but we are wackin moles over there and throwing our young men and women into a meat grinder in an unwinnable war.
    I often see mention of battles fought by ISAF forces and they mention approximate numbers of taliban KIA. After watching alot of video I have to question how these numbers are arrived at. There was a base in nuristan that was almost overrun where we listed I think 100 enemy KIA. We suffered roughly 20 KIA and WIA. So was this attacking force totally wiped out or did some escape ? was the actual attacking force 200? 300? Did we bag and tag 100 enemy KIA or did we just swag it? It just seems that if we had enough boots on the ground, even in challenging terrain, we shouldn’t be surprised by a 2-300 man force.

  • Johno says:

    I am at somewhat of a loss to understand the obsession with blaming Pakistan.They have just lost 15 men inside their own country – some were beheaded, I assume they were alive at the time.
    Can you image if 300 Mexicans drug cartel paramilitaries did that to a US National Guard OP. That is what has just occurred. You could argue with good reason that if Pakistan did more this may not have occurred. However the Mexicans have a similar argument regarding the resources which are fuelling so much violence inside their country. In other words it’s not as easy as it looks.
    We need to focus on the battlespace surrounding every ISAF infantryman under the gaze of the enemy. We are failing there. Claiming some sort of triumph against some low-life sitting on his roof-top 300 miles away in a country where US serviceman are not being killed is a waste of time & money we don’t have.
    @rainbow – 50 divisions of cold-war inspired fighters would fail just like Vietnam and the enemy here is nowhere near as numerous or well-equipped. Unfortunately doing nothing is not an option. This problem will not fix itself as Vietnam eventually did. 9/11 was no Gulf of Tonkin ‘attack’. Everyone wishes it where but it’s not.
    What is needed is a change in mindset. It doesn’t necessarily mean less technology but the technology needs to focus on the pair of boots that is carrying it and the space within a 100 metres radius from those boots. Obviously 100 metres is ten times too close but at the moment a US infantryman can’t take a single step without knowing if it will be his last.
    Imagine the face of the commander of a Macedonian phalanx – having walked from Greece carrying their machaira, sarissa & shields to the very same spot we today refer to as Kunar (he would know it well); that we have the resources to video him doing up his sandals from space but walking thru that village, as he did 2400 years ago, is a big problem.
    The mood of good-natured back slapping at your ‘joke’ would change very rapidly when they found out you weren’t being funny. I dare say the first thing the Macedonian commander would do is put you (as the messenger) and every officer above the rank of major to the sword. He would then try to find out how the hell we got into this mess.

  • rainbow says:

    Well no need to worry anymore, Kayani has declared that the Pak military has broken the backs of the terrorists !

  • Infidel4LIFE says:

    I guess these are “bad taliban” damn is there a “good taliban?” Looks like the Paki’s dog has turned on them. Pakistan=Terror Central

  • sanman says:

    Here’s a good article on why Pakistan is betraying the US in the war on terror:


    As the article says, it’s a question of ‘why’ and not ‘if’.

    As for this latest attack by Taliban, it shows that Pakistan is reaping what it has sewed. It is, here and there, suffering the blowback consequences of playing with fire.

    AlQaeda’s game plan is to seize control over Pakistan, and the 5th largest nuclear arsenal in the world. They’re not going to miss out on that golden opportunity. The more the Pakistani state protects people like Haqqani, who is inextricably wedded to AlQaeda, the more the chance grows for AlQaeda to turn the Taliban towards their goal.

    Drones are a technological band-aid to compensate for a losing strategy. If and when AlQaeda and Taliban find ways to neutralize the drone strategy, then the US will be out of options.
    If I were AlQaeda and Taliban, I would expand this war into an urban war, like IRA, Bader-Meinhoff, etc have done, because drones can’t be used against urban environments without massive ripple effects. That’s why Bin Laden, Zawahiri & Co are currently hiding in some Pakistani city, and not in a cave.

    Aggressive drone strikes are necessary, but not sufficient. Nobody can leisurely pursue victory by relying purely on technological band-aids. Drones have given the US a false sense of reassurance, which will lead to disaster if not supplemented by a coherent policy.

    Once the US withdraws from Afghanistan, and Pakistan really steps up its efforts to become kingmaker there thru Taliban, then the way will be open for AlQaeda to step up its plan to use Taliban and Islamism to seize control of Pakistan and the ultimate prize – the world’s 5th-largest nuclear arsenal. Drones will become perfectly useless for that phase of the conflict.

  • ifti says:

    i think this the time to stop the taliban the time means now or never. if we neglect the situation of the Pakistan northern areas there will be a great mistake by the government of Pakistan either they stop the drone attacks or to the taliban by force. this all is concerned to the people of Pakistan and there security.

  • Charu says:

    This is a sorry state of affairs when the Taliban now have sanctuary inside Afghanistan. A 12 hour battle with no air support called in? I think that it is wise to reserve judgment until there is verifiable proof that this battle took place. The Pakistanis are masters at pan-handling and will use every trick in the book to solicit money from the US.

  • Charu says:

    @Sanman, great link! A comment there by reader Victor bears noting:
    “1. Stop recognizing the Durand line; instead acknowledge a great Pashtun state which includes NWFP/FATA is a part of a United Federation of Afghanistan. This will end the current stale-mate of a sanctuary across the Durand Line for those who kill our bravest. Our forces will have the freedom to operate freely and manage the Taleban and Al-Queda menace.
    2. Recognize an independent Baluchistan: The Baluch have never wanted to be a part of Pakistan, right from its birth in 1947 and have been fighting for independence since then. They are relatively secular and will be grateful to the West for getting them their freedom. They will provide a sea-access to serve our forces in Afghanistan. Further it will allow us to keep Iran in check since it opens another land-frontier friendly to the West.
    3. Create an independent state in the Northern Areas of Kashmir with significant US presence; an extension of our deployment in Afghanistan. These areas are Shia dominated Pakistani occupied regions of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir which have been seen their share of revolts against the Pakistani state. Recently, the Chinese PLA has been very active in this area it as Pakistan has ceded control to the Chinese.
    This state can become a vital cog in balancing the interests of different powers. It would provide a land-bridge connecting India with Central Asia. It will also provide a barrier towards Chinese ambitions in Central Asia and the Gulf. US presence in this state will provide a mechanism for us to exert strategic influence on two of the emerging powers of Asia. It can help keep their ambitions in check and force Chinese cooperation in dismantling of the Pakistani nuclear infrastructure.”
    While I have long pushed for 1 & 2, I am not sure about the viability or feasibility of 3. However, Chinese access to the vicinity of the Persian Gulf must be thwarted just as the Russian ambitions were during the Great Game.

  • crusader says:

    here we have pak soldiers being slaughtered. we remember them as “playing both sides bastards” etc etc.
    what do they have to do with the leadership?
    at least they are fighting the bad talibs…
    what happens when the us leaves? will we leave them to be slaughtered like we did to the iraqis in the first gulf war? perhaps they have read about history and do not see us as credible…i know i would…
    they fear the revenge of the bad talibs once the mighty united states have left…

  • Soccer says:

    Crusader, Pakistan deserves what it gets for double-crossing the very people who keep them afloat.
    Sure, they may get slaughtered when we leave – they shouldn’t have closed the borders, allowed terrorists to use their soil for a sanctuary, protested against the drone strikes, or used the categories of “good Taliban” or “bad Taliban”.
    Whatever Pakistan receives, it is mostly of their own doing.


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