Troops from Afghan border moved to Pakistan eastern borders

Pakistan on Thursday confirmed it had started shifting some troops from its western border with Afghanistan to the eastern frontier with India owing to heightening tensions and massing of Indian forces along the Line of Control and the working boundary. Troop movement back from the Afghan border was witnessed in a number of Pakistani tribal areas, where Pakistan recently augmented security on the porous Durand Line to prevent the entry of al-Qaeda and Taliban fugitives, but the growing military standoff with India has forced it to re-deploy some of its troops. Islamabad had recently informed the United Nations of its intention to recall its troops carrying out peace-keeping duties in Sierra Leone. In Dera Ismail Khan, heavy artillery units were seen moving from DI Khan to Bakhar district on their way to the eastern borders. "The process announced Thursday was actually initiated on May 23," an official source revealed. Reports from tribal areas say that after the troop's redeployment from the 1400 miles porous Pak-Afghan border, where they have been aiding the US-led forces in the hunt for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, all the pickets and gates have been re-handed over to the Frontier Corps. Security officials in South Waziristan Agency, some 395 kilometres from the Pakistani north-western frontier provincial capital, Peshawar, confirmed that the army personnel were not seen manning the gates and pickets and instead the FC personnel were performing the duties there. In North Waziristan and Kurram agencies, forces' movement from various strategic points in the tribal belt was also witnessed. "Yes, we have moved additional troops" from the Pak-Afghan border, Pakistani President's Press Secretary and Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Major General Rashid Qureshi said when contacted. He explained that certain additional troops, deployed at the western flank, had been relocated to the eastern borders. Rashid Qureshi claimed the re-location of forces would not impact on Pakistan's relations with the anti-terror coalition, which was being lent maximum cooperation in the hunt for al-Qaeda and Taliban fugitives. The troops withdrawn from the western border were being sent to locations where they were needed, he said, referring to the escalating military tensions with India. Levies and paramilitary forces had been sent for deployment along the Afghan border to keep a check on the infiltration of al-Qaeda and Taliban members, an official, seeking anonymity, revealed. However, he could not say how many troops had been withdrawn from the Durand Line. Witnesses from Bannu claimed they had seen scores of army trucks carrying soldiers from the border. A car-showroom owner along the highway between the border town of Miran Shah and Bannu said: "I have seen at least 30 trucks from the Pakistan Army taking hundreds of troops to the Pakistan eastern province of Punjab.”

Saffiullah Gul PRAVDA.Ru Pakistan

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