ISLAMABAD - Military's top brass has decided to keep the additional troops deployed in Upper and Lower Dir till both the districts are completely secured against militant attacks and cross-border incursions.
Gen Kayani emphasised the need for enduring partnership between army and local population for bringing complete normalcy to the area and assured the tribal leaders of keeping the additional army troops deployed in the area to counter cross-border incursions, according to military sources.
Reportedly, the tribal leaders from Maidan, Barawal, Usherai Darra and Shaltalo – the four villages that have recently braved most incursions allegedly by the militants from the bordering Kunar and Nursitan provinces of Afghanistan – had arrived in the Dir town to meet the army chief.
Tribal lashkar head in Upper Dir Moatabar Khan as well as other leaders including Laal Bacha, Feroz Khan, Hazrat Gul, Malik Jahanzeb, Malik Behram, Sahibzada Khan, Behram Khan, Malik Saeed Anwar, Sultan Khan, Jehan Alam Yousafzai and Shaad Muhammad were part of the delegation that met the COAS, officials said.
A military statement issued after Kayani's visit said: "The COAS was briefed about the latest situation in Dir, with particular emphasis on measures being adopted against the threat posed by miscreants operating from havens across the border. While interacting with officers and men, he praised their high morale and sense of sacrifice.”
Army had deployed additional troops in Upper Dir and Chitral in September last year to counter the alleged attacks in the suburban areas of both the districts from Afghan side. Lower Dir was declared as safe then.
However, following rockets and sniper attacks last month at Tripaman heights, an important military post in Lower Dir, additional regular troops were reportedly sent there to augment operational strength of the Frontier Corps (FC), army's paramilitary wing.
Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Major General Ishfaq Nadeem and General Officer Commanding (GOC) Swat and Malakand Division Major General Ghulam Qamar supervise the security measures in Upper Dir under the direct command of Peshawar Corps Commander Khalid Rabbani. While the FC command in both Upper and Lower Dir is under the operational control of the GOC Swat and Malakand Division, officials said.
Upper Dir is considered as volatile due to the heavy presence of the supporters of Sufi Muhammad, the detained head of the banned Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM). Maidan, Sufi's native town, has seen large-scale crackdown in the recent months. Military claims having taken to task several high-value terrorists but complete and long lasting peace in the region is yet to be restored.
Talking to The Nation, Upper Dir District Coordination Officer (DCO) Riaz Mehsud said that the district administration, in coordination with the military and paramilitary forces, had taken effective measures to restore peace in the district. A number of local militants from Maidan area have been detained but their identity and strength cannot be disclosed due to security reasons, he said.
"Restoring peace in the region is everybody's responsibility. The military takes care of cross-border incursions. We have taken preventive measures to bring normalcy here. (We) hope, life would be back on track soon."