ISLAMABAD (dpa) – Pakistani authorities have set up a special high-altitude police unit to protect climbers in the northern Himalayan region where militants massacred a group of Westerners in 2013, officials said Monday.
The new 50-strong unit would be trained by professional climbers to work in the harsh terrain of the Gilgit-Baltistan region near Pakistan’s border with China, police official Mumtaz Hussain said.
Some of the world’s highest mountains including K2 are located in the region, making it an irresistible attraction for professional climbers from across Europe and the Americas.
But the number of climbers went down sharply after Taleban militants killed nine foreign mountaineers and their Pakistani guides in June 2013 at the base camp of Nanga Parbat, a peak of over 8,000 metres.
The new unit would initially work on the same mountain to protect climbers, said Mubarak Jan, a spokesman for Gilgit-Baltistan police.
The number of officers in the unit would gradually be increased later and they would be deployed to other mountains as well, Jan said.