PESHAWAR: Pakistan said Monday that seven soldiers were beheaded by militants who infiltrated from Afghanistan, lashing out at Kabul over cross-border attacks.
The protests come with Pakistan under growing US pressure to act against al Qaeda-linked safe havens on its own soil and the anti-terror Islamabad-Washington alliance at its lowest ebb since the 9/11 attacks.
Pakistan already reported that six soldiers were killed in gunbattles with militants Sunday who crossed from Afghanistan into the northwestern district of Upper Dir, a key border transit route that neighbours the Swat valley where Pakistan defeated a local Taliban insurgency in 2009.
Intelligence officials blamed the attack on loyalists of Pakistani cleric Maulana Fazlullah, who fled to Afghanistan after losing control of Swat to the army.
But on Monday, the military said 11 soldiers had also gone missing, “out of whom seven soldiers have been reportedly killed and then beheaded”.
The bodies have not been found, but intelligence intercepts indicated that they had been killed, a senior military official told AFP in the northwest.
The army said more than 100 militants “from a safe haven across the border” attacked troops on patrol. It claimed to have killed 14 militants.
Pakistan said two rockets and sniper fire were also fired into Lower Dir on Monday.
The army “has strongly protested with their counterparts across the border for not taking action against miscreants present in safe haven in Afghanistan,” a military official said.