5 ‘Terrorists’ are reported killed by the Pakistani military close to the Afghan border.
Pakistan’s military said Saturday its forces had raided a “terrorist” hideout in a volatile region bordering Afghanistan and killed five militants in the ensuing shootout.
The “intelligence-based” overnight raid in the militancy-hit North Waziristan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province also killed a key militant commander involved in attacks on security forces, the army’s media wing said in a statement.
The army did not name the group, but the anti-state Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, said its hideout was raided and confirmed the killing of four of its members. The group’s statement, sent to journalists, also claimed inflicting heavy casualties on the raiding military forces.
Parts of the northwestern Pakistani province have experienced almost deadly militant attacks, mainly targeting soldiers and police, with the TTP claiming credit or being blamed for most of the violence.
The provincial counterterrorism department said in its annual report Friday that militant attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had killed 185 police officers and wounded 400 other people this year.
The report claimed security forces had also killed 300 militants and captured more than 900 others during the same period.
Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province, bordering Afghanistan, has also seen an uptick in attacks carried out by the TTP and ethnic Baluch insurgents this year, killing hundreds of civilians and security forces.
The Pakistani military has reported the death of nearly 300 officers and soldiers in nationwide militant attacks and counterinsurgency operations in 2023 alone. Earlier this month, militants raided an army base and killed at least 23 soldiers in the deadliest attack in Pakistan’s recent history.
Authorities say TTP, listed as a global terrorist group by the United States, and allied groups are plotting the violence from Afghan sanctuaries.
Islamabad maintains that cross-border terrorism in Pakistan has sharply increased since the Islamist Taliban regained power in Afghanistan two years ago.
“While the interim authorities have reported some success in the fight against Daesh [the Islamic State group], the fact is that a number of terrorist groups are living in Afghanistan, evidently under the protection of the Afghan interim government,” Munir Akram, the Pakistani envoy to the United Nations, told a U.N. Security Council meeting on Afghanistan earlier this month.
Akram reiterated Pakistan’s claims that the TTP was launching more deadly and sophisticated attacks against security forces due to the militant group’s acquisition of modern military weapons from “the considerable stocks left behind in Afghanistan” by U.S. and NATO troops.
Washington has repeatedly denied leaving any weapons in Afghanistan during the American military’s withdrawal from the country in August 2021, dismissing such allegations as “farce.”
Taliban authorities reject charges they are sheltering or allowing militants to stage attacks against Pakistan or any other country from Afghan soil.