War engulfs Afghan-Pakistan borderlands

A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a military convoy Jan. 22 near Mirali, in Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan, killing four troops and a civilian woman, and injuring 23, including 20 soldiers. The convoy was a joint force of the federal army and local paramilitary troops. (Dawn, Pakistan, Jan. 23) That same day, a helicopter gunships from the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan bombed a border post in the remote Shawal area of North Waziristan, killing one paramilitary troop, injuring two more and prompting an official protest from Islamabad. (IRNA, Iran, Jan. 24) The following day, at least 10 mortar shells were fired from across the Afghan border into Pakistani territory in North Waziristan. Military sources said the shells were fired by Afghan government troops in retaliation for rocket-fire from a guerilla position near the border in Khost province. (Dawn, Jan. 25)

The tribal leaders in North Wazirstan Agency held an emergency Jirga in the town of Tanga Mela to address the attacks. Tribal spokesmen Malik Abdul Wali and Malik Shahboot Khan, speaking to the press, demanded an unconditional apology from NATO and warned that any future attacks would invite retaliation from the tribals. (OnLine News, Pakistan, Jan. 25)

See our last posts on Afghanistan and Pakistan/Waziristan.