Pakistan Shows Bombed Village After Air Attack With PM-Afghanistan
SWIR, Pakistan (AP) _ Mohiuddin Shah stood beside a bomb crater in his wheat field, shaking a fist as he told of warplanes that swept from the sky just after dawn three days earlier, firing missiles and dropping bombs.
″I’m just a poor man. I don’t know why they bomb us,″ he said Monday. ″The Russians did this to us. We’ll fight against the Russians.″
Eight Afghan warplanes bombed and rocketed the border village beside the Chitral River last Friday, killing 12 people and injuring 31, according to the Pakistani government. The intrusion was one of more than 60 reported so far this year on the Afghan-Pakistani border.
A Pakistani army helicopter brought a group of journalists to Swir, just three miles from the frontier. Villagers pointed out holes in houses, displayed shattered bomb casings and led the visitors through scarred wheat fields as they spoke of the attack.
Bomb craters up to six feet deep dotted the fields. Smaller ones pocked other areas, apparently made by air-to-ground. A large tree was shorn of branches and large areas of ripe wheat were flattened by the bomb blasts.
″This is our village,″ said Shah, a village elder. ″Why do they do this to us?″
Pakistani army officers in the nearby town of Drost said the planes did not attack until Pakistani forces and Afghan guerrillas fired on them.
Men, women and children from Swir who were wounded in the bombing were in a hospital at Drost. A two-year-old girl with shell fragment wounds in one leg whimpered as her father rocked her. Other children lay in their beds staring with frightened eyes at the visitors.
″I have never had to deal with anything like this in my life,″ said Dr. Fida Aziz-ud-din, displaying shattered limbs and chest wounds.
Most of the injured were hit by steel splinters from exploding bombs, which will have to be surgically removed when they are stronger, the doctor said.
Friday’s attack apparently was a spillover from fighting in Afghanistan’s nearby Kunar Valley. The narrow mountain valley in which Drost and Swir stand becomes the Kunar Valley at the Afghan frontier.
A Soviet force of more than 10,000 men is driving up the valley toward the Afghan border town of Barikot, whose Afghan and Soviet garrison is besieged by Moslem rebels.
The guerrillas are fighting the communist Afghan government, which is supported by an estimated 115,000 Soviet soldiers who began moving into the country in December 1979.
Afghanistan has repeatedly denied Pakistani charges of air intrusions, while warning Pakistan to stop supporting the guerrillas.
The Pakistani government officially denies there are any guerrillas on its territory, even though the resistance groups and their fighters operate openly in the border region.
Lt. Col. Murad Khan Nayyar, commander of the Pakistani army troops at Drost, said his men opened fire on the planes when they roared over the town. The aircraft were MiG-23s, probably flown by Soviet pilots, he said.
Murad confirmed reports by villagers that Afghan guerrillas in a refugee camp just across the river from Swir also fired on the aircraft and the planes did not attack until after that. The jets made four passes over Swir, dropping 15 bombs and firing rockets, he said.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Bernard Kalb called the attack a ″ruthless act in which communist forces have violated an international frontier.
″We have condemned such violations in the past but are particularly troubled by the circumstances of this attack,″ he said. ″It featured four separate sorties against civilian targets ...″