Taliban launch attack on Pakistani police outpost from Afghanistan

A large group of Taliban fighters crossed over from Afghanistan and attacked a police station in a remote area of Pakistan today. Twenty-three Pakistani troops have been reported killed during the fighting.

A Taliban force estimated at more than 200 fighters who were described as “very well armed with light and heavy weapons” attacked a police station in the village of Shaldalo in Upper Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, sparking a clash that lasted several hours. Some of the fighters were said to be wearing military uniforms, although it is unclear if the uniforms were Afghan or Pakistani.

Pakistani helicopter gunships are reported to have been called in to support the beleaguered police force. Twenty-three security forces personnel have killed and the Taliban are said to have taken heavy casualties as well.

The Taliban reportedly launched today’s 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.

The Taliban launched a similar attack on April 22, when more than 400 fighters from Kunar mounted an assault on a police checkpoint in Kharakhai in the district of Lower Dir. The Taliban overran the outpost, killing 16 Pakistani security personnel, five of whom were beheaded.

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 Afghanistan’s provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. 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 evaded the operation, however, and have since 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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  • bb says:

    It seems to me that breaking communication with NATO counterparts wasn’t such a very good idea.
    A coordinated response from Afghanistan and Pakistan could have resulted in a lot of taliban killed.

  • alan says:

    good now there turning on each other thats what happens when you play the double game

  • jean says:

    It would be great to see a real response the Paks. Some company grade leaders that are fed up with loosing their troops to these thugs. Wishful thinking……

  • Charles says:

    Wednesday, June 1, 2011
    Seriously? US Considering Negotiating with Mullah Omar
    Posted by Thomas Ferdousi at 9:32 AM

  • Graham says:

    How’d they scrounge up so many troops?

  • Johno says:

    This is double blow back from the ISI. It is all about creating a strategic depth to the defense aganist the India-centric zero tolerance mindset-set of the backward intellect of the Punjabi Pak Army high command!

  • naresh c. says:

    The people in Pakistani military and ISI get condos in Dubai and London, farmhouses near Islamabad, beach facing palaces in Karachi, and foreign education for their kids.
    What does the Pakistani police get? Fight the war that the military should be fighting with revolvers and sticks and insufficient pay?

  • Jeff Edelman says:

    Hey! Looks like we’ve got our own “good taliban.” As long as they don’t attack U.S. troops, we should keep these cats around for some more cross-border incursions. See how the Pakistanis feel about this.

  • sports says:

    To bad coalition forces couldn’t be at the border waiting for them to return.

  • Vienna,02-06-2011
    These are expected developments where intelligence sharing
    and the use of intelligence by “partners” serve opposing interests. This also serves to justify Americans not notifying
    in advance to Pakistanis on the Navy Seals commando raid
    on May 1.The Pakistanis participated in killing civilians on
    11/9 since they saw it as serving their interest.Americans
    on the other hand on May 1 raid picked up only the culprits.Civilians are not their target. Taliban is a weapon
    that could be used both ways. This was proved during the
    last days of Zia regime when ammunition trucks were destroyed by Afghans in Islamabad. That is what is described
    by the phrase ” strange bed fellows”. That also means there
    is no way Americans and Pakistanis can disengage.
    -Kulamarva Balakrishna

  • Jack Williams says:

    This Taliban “crossing from Afghanistan to Pakistan” to attack a Pak border report is not credible. What possibly could have been the military or political objective? That border post had no military or political importance.
    The the wording of the statement points to Pakistani Army dis-information…their communique emphasizes an “armed force,” not necessarily “Taliban.”
    The Pak military, through the press, has been pushing the story of the US/Afghan military action against Pakistan, and it is becoming an implicit belief in Pakistan. Furthermore, the Pak press is increasingly trumpeting that all in-country terrorism is sourced in Afghanistan, organized by RAW and the CIA using brain-washed youths.
    It is not widely reported but Pak military has crossed the Durand line in certain areas and occupied portions of Afghanistan. And the Pak Army has increased their artillery attacks aimed at Afghan and ISAF border posts. In this light, reasonable deductions can be made about this “attack” … It is usually wise to assume a child-like deviousness in most Pakistani reports.
    In my opinion, this “report of Afghan-to-Pak terrorism” could be laying the groundwork for more overt Pak military action against the ISAF.
    The fantasies of the leadership in Pakistan has reached levels that are truly epic.

  • Hussain says:

    The US should close down the safe havens in Northern Afghanistan that are used by terrorists to infiltrate into Pakistan.Hypocrisy at its best from the US & NATO Forces

  • kp says:

    This Taliban “crossing from Afghanistan to Pakistan” to attack a Pak border report is not credible. What possibly could have been the military or political objective? That border post had no military or political importance.

    The objective might be to cause problems in the US/Pakistan relationship and the perhaps give Pakistan an opportunity to complain that those TTP are hiding in Kunar and the US aren’t doing enough to deal with them. (See Hussain’s comment!)

    Or as mentioned in the article on the previous attack: “Some Pakistani officials claimed the Taliban force evaded operations in Pakistan’s tribal agency of Mohmand, entered Afghanistan [Kunar], and then crossed back into Dir with the help of Afghan Army personnel.” It’s a very fluid border though I doubt the bit about with the help of the ANA.

    I suspect these are Pakistani Taliban (“They (militants) were in military uniform” — I presume Pakistani military uniform). It’s a blow by the TTP against the Pakistani government to make them look weak and perhaps take pressure off other areas.

    The attack is also in Upper Dir (in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province) so that’s outside the FATA. The previous similar April 22 attack was also outside the FATA in Lower Dir (also in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province). They probably do have a plan.

    Plenty of good reasons, IMHO.

  • sanman says:

    I’d read these attackers destroyed some Pakistani anti-aircraft guns when they attacked the post. Is this true? If so, then maybe they’re continuing their strategy of going after higher-value targets like key equipment (those frontier police are just cannon-fodder anyway)
    I also read that the Pakistani response employed helicopter gunships to repel the attackers and regain control over the area. I think that any US supply of spare parts and ammo to the Pakistani military should only come from supplies that have made it into Afghanistan. Since the Pakistanis are always so intent on squeezing the supply line to US forces in Afghanistan, then the Pakistanis have to be made to understand that if US/NATO run out of provisions, then so do the Pak military.

  • kp says:

    The follow up reports don’t sound so good. Bill links to this in the news section


    ISLAMABAD (PAN): Nearly 40 security officials have been killed during an ongoing clash with fighters in Pakistan’s troubled northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, residents said on Thursday.
    br>The fighting erupted when hundreds of insurgents crossed from Afghanistan into the mountainous district of Upper Dir and stormed a security checkpoint there. About 80 policemen are said to have been kidnapped.
    br>Armed with heavy weapons, around 600 militants were still firing at the security personnel from nearby hilltops, resident Saida Jan told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone. Fierce fighting was still going on in the remote Shaltalu area, he said.

    600 Taliban? That’s a “two battalion” sized engagement not the usual platoon or two. A company of Pakistanis captured. 40 dead. And they’re still in contact after a day or so? Yikes.

  • James says:

    Could it be that the Taliban are now making the fatal mistake (like Hitler did) of trying to wage a war on two fronts?
    It could also be that they are fleeing from a real or imagined impending major action by NATO/ISAF north of the border and may have been tipped off in advance.
    Another possibility is that this whole reaction on their part is a direct result of CIA initiated psych ops north of the border to make them afraid of an impending major NATO or ISAF action.
    Seriously, I believe the pak powers knew full well of the planned taking out of bin laden and acquiesced fully to it and are only now pretending to be enraged about it.
    Now, the Taliban [and their AQ masters] know the truth that they’ve been getting stabbed in the back all these years by the powers that be [at least for now] in Islamabad.
    Poor Taliban, they don’t know which way to shoot. Should it be north or south? Maybe we should wish them the best of luck while they try to fight that war on two fronts, because they’re going to need it.

  • gerald says:

    The stronger the ISAF trained Afghan forces become, the more the Taliban will focus their attacks on Pakistan. A FATA Emirate is just as good as an Afghan one o AQ.

  • kp says:

    TTP claim the Upper Dir attack as part of their new “AQ-like” strategy


    Deputy TTP leader Fakir Mohammed said the group with close ties to al Qaeda had changed strategy and would now focus on large-scale attacks only on state targets like the one in Dir.

    “Our new strategy of launching big attacks on military installations was aimed at causing demoralization in the ranks of the security forces and tiring of the government,” he told Pakistan’s The News newspaper from what he said was a location somewhere in Afghanistan

    So they are implicitly linking the April 22 Lower Dir, PNAS Menas and Upper Dir attacks.


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