Nanga Parbat Diamir BC Massacre | Diamir Teams Depart, Romanians Make Progress

After yesterday's massacre at Diamir BC, majority of expeditions are heading back to Islamabad. A large number of climbers were evacuated from Base Camp yesterday, whereas rest of them will be shifted to Gilgit today. All Diamir teams except Pakistani Expedition have confirmed the end of expedition. Pakistanis are currently helping to remove gear of departing teams from the mountain.

Updates from different teams.

1. Pawel Michalski and Simone La Terra have cancelled the climb and were taken to Islamabad will not be coming to Pakistan as planned earlier. They were still in Europe.
2. Tunc Findik, Mehdi Gholipour and their Nepalese fellows were shifted to Gilgit yesterday. They are hoping to fly to Islamabad today.
3. Polish Nanga Parbat Experience 2013 team is also on the way back. They shall reach Islamabad today.
4. It was expected that Ukrainian team’s remaining members would be shifted to Gilgit, yesterday evening.
5. International Expedition lead by Alexandra Dzik were expecting a heli-flight to Gilgit, this morning.
6. As of now it’s not known whether remaining Chinese climbers have been evacuated or not.
7. Pakistani climbers Karim Hayyat, Naseer Uddin and Sher Khan were at BC, yesternight. Currently, it's not known whether they're coming back or will continue the climb.

Meanwhile, Romanian Team on Rupal face reported that they established C3 (6600m), yesterday and will climb to 7000m today. A reader of this blog, Istvan Varga commented, that "they do not seem to be going home at this moment."

Coffins of deceased climbers at Islamabad Airport; Photo:AFP
Schedule of several Karakoram team is also effected by this incident. Many climbers couldn't start their journey from Islamabad as they were not allowed to travel on KKH. Pakistani officials will now try to ensure safety of route and climbing areas before letting international teams to proceed. Climbers trekking on Baltoro glacier seem unaffected at the moment, as they march towards respective BCs (K2, Gasherbrums and Broad Peak). But this may change if their governments issue any kind of warning message about climbing. It's to be noted that Karakoram is located 200km away from Nanga Parbat. Baltoro glacier is regularly patrolled by Pakistan Army.

Frequent updates can be followed at Twitter and in Tweetbox at right.

Following is a detailed report about the incident, I have written for Explorersweb.
One Lithuanian from International Expedition, two climbers from Slovakia, three from Ukraine, three from China, one from Nepal and one from Pakistan, have been murdered during Nanga Parbat Diamir side massacre, messaged the International Expedition leader, Alexandra Dzik. Lithuanian Ernest Marksaitis was the only member of International Expedition who was at Base Camp yesterday. Alexandra confirmed his unfortunate demise.

As per television reports, more than a dozen terrorists disguised in local police uniforms, entered the Base Camp area at around 10:30 PM on Saturday and held the locals (BC staff) hostage before murdering the foreigners. As confirmed by post-mortem reports, all climbers have been killed by bullets in their heads and other parts of the body. The terrorists also took the money from locals and documents of foreign members with them. It’s reported that they left BC after midnight, leaving the locals tied up in ropes.

Police received the call about the incident on Sunday morning. Since the Base Camp is located at a remote location, accessible after 2-3 days of trekking, the Pakistan Army was called in to facilitate the operation with helicopters. The area was sealed off, but unfortunately the terrorists haven’t been located yet.

As per Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman, the assault was carried out by its sub group, Jund-ul Hifsa. The attack was condemned by top officials, including President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan’s National Assembly also passed a resolution condemning the incident.

Officials are reporting it as the first incident of such an attack. This indeed is the first attack on altitude climbers but it can be linked with several incidents from the past. Last year, more than 20 bus passengers were killed by Taliban in an adjacent valley, near Babusar Pass. The terrorists used military uniforms in that incident. Also, there were many cases of armed looting of trekkers and campers at nearby locations (looting style appeared more like Taliban groups). Last year’s events indicated strong presence of Taliban and other criminals in the region. It was the government’s responsibility to ensure security of climbing teams.

The dead bodies of the victims retrieved from Diamir BC were removed to Gilgit via helicopter and were later taken to Islamabad via C130 planes, whereas remaining climbers are being escorted by Army and Police officials. Security officials have closed the whole Nanga Parbat region looking for the terrorists. Base Camp is also secured by army soldiers
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