News BlogPolice Terrorism

Pakistan. An attack in the Himalayas targets mountaineers. Several Europeans killed (Maj2)

The Nanga Parbat on the Diamir side (credit: Jasmine Tours Pakistan)
The Nanga Parbat on the Diamir side (credit: Jasmine Tours Pakistan)

(BRUSSELS2) Around ten mountaineers died from gunfire in the Himalayas in Pakistan on Saturday June 22 at 22 p.m. (local, 17 GMT). This is the first time that tourists have been targeted by an attack in a region (Gilgit-Baltistan) which until now appears to have been preserved (1). Taliban are said to have burst into the base camp, located near Diamir, wearing the uniform of the “Gilgit Scouts” (2). The Taliban, members of the Junood-e-Hafsa group, claimed responsibility for their act – according to an AFP report – to avenge the death of TTP number 2, Wali ur-Rehman, killed in May by an American drone strike in the north -Western Pakistan.

Lithuanian, Slovaks, Ukrainians and 1 American

Contrary to the first information released, there are indeed European Union nationals among the deceased. The results were confusing because we first spoke of 1 Russian, 5 Ukrainians and 3 Chinese. However, according to a Polish mountaineer, leader of the “Nanga Parbat International 2013” ​​expedition, who sent a message on Sunday afternoon, 11 people died: a Lithuanian member of this expedition (who studied in Moscow) as well as 2 Slovak and 3 Ukrainian mountaineers (members of another Ukrainian expedition), 3 Chinese and two guides — a Nepalese sherpa and a Pakistani.

Information confirmed by the local press, which specifies that all the victims were identified by the Pakistani forensic institute. Among these would thus be an American national (of Chinese origin) – as well as the leader of the Ukrainian expedition (3). The bodies were flown by helicopter and then by C-130 military aircraft to the Chaklala air base in Islamabad before being repatriated to their respective countries.

premonitory... a photo of one of the mountaineers present on site
premonitory… a photo of one of the mountaineers present on site

The mountaineers were preparing to climb Nanga Parbat, the 9th world summit, culminating at 8126 meters, and located in Pakistan near China, via the west face. Some were experienced or even very experienced and active in mountain rescue.

Comment: this is the first time to my knowledge that mountaineers have been targeted in a “terrorist” act. This new situation should encourage reflection and could reshuffle the cards. As in the Sahel, the Himalayas and other areas around the world, tourists become “targets”.

(1) Information to be taken in the conditional. An attack on a bus reportedly caused the death of around twenty people near Lake Lulusar, not far from there, in August 2012. Attack claimed by the Taliban in revenge for attacks on Sunnis by Shiites . And the Gilgit-Baltistan region remains riddled with autonomist ups and downs.
(2) A British-founded paramilitary force recently integrated into the Pakistani armed forces (light infantry regiment).
(3) In accordance with the rules in use on this blog, no names will be given without ensuring that the families have been informed.
(Shift) The “?” appearing in the title has been removed. Sign that the information has been confirmed. And several details were provided overnight from Sunday to Monday as confirmations were given.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).