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3 Pakistani soldiers, 1 militant killed in separate border shootouts

AT News

KABUL – In a series of overnight military operations conducted in Pakistan’s border areas, three Pakistani soldiers and one militant were killed on Friday. These operations were carried out in response to increasing militant activity in the northwest region adjacent to the Afghanistan border.

A statement from the military issued late Friday disclosed that the security forces had initiated an operation in Miran Shah, the central town of North Waziristan. This operation aimed to “eliminate remaining terrorists” based on credible intelligence reports regarding militant presence in the area.

As troops closed in on the target location, they encountered a group of militants and swiftly engaged in a firefight. Tragically, during the intense shootout, an army major leading the operation and another soldier were fatally wounded. Additionally, one militant was killed, and another sustained injuries.

Simultaneously, the military conducted a raid on a militant hideout in the Tirah valley of Khyber district, situated along the border with Afghanistan. During this operation, one soldier and one militant were killed early Friday.

Recent days have witnessed an upsurge in militant attacks on security forces in the northwest region. Notably, on Thursday, a suicide bomber targeted a security convoy in Bannu, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, resulting in the tragic loss of nine soldiers and injuries to 20 others. Bannu serves as the gateway to North Waziristan, which had long been a sanctuary for militants until a major military operation was launched in response to the 2014 attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that claimed the lives of over 150 individuals, primarily school children.

Despite extensive operations in the region over the years, occasional attacks persist, raising concerns that the local Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, may have sought refuge in Afghanistan and are regrouping in the area. It’s important to note that the Pakistani Taliban is distinct but has affiliations with the Afghan Taliban, who assumed power in Afghanistan in 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops completed their withdrawal.

In 2022, the Pakistani Taliban terminated a cease-fire with the Islamabad government and instructed its fighters to resume attacks across the country. Pakistan has consistently urged the interim Afghan government to take action against “individuals and entities that threaten Pakistan” and fulfill its commitments to the international community.

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