Seven Pakistani soldiers were beheaded by militants who came into the country from Afghanistan, officials said on Monday. Another six soldiers were also reportedly killed in a gunfight with the militants.
The battle and grisly killings took place in Upper Dir, a border transit route from Pakistan into Afghanistan.
Pakistan officials blamed the incident on militants who are loyal to extremist cleric Maulana Fazlullah, who fled from Pakistan to Afghanistan after he lost control of the nearby Swat area in 2009, AFP reported.
The army told the news agency that more than 100 militants swarmed the area, coming from across the border, blaming Kabul “for not taking action against miscreants present in safe haven in Afghanistan.”
Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said he would speak with Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai about the cross-border attacks. “We have strongly protested and I will … talk about this to Karzai,” Ashraf was quoted by as saying by AP.
The skirmish is a renewed sign of tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan has been criticized by the United States and NATO for harboring militants who go on to launch attacks in Afghanistan.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in recent weeks that the Pentagon is losing patience with Islamabad for allegedly harboring terrorists and militants.Islamabad, which complains it is also a victim of terrorism, will likely use this incident to rebuff U.S. and NATO accusations.