5 troops and 7 terrorists are killed in an attack on a Pakistani outpost close to the Afghan border.

5 troops and 7 terrorists are killed in an attack on a Pakistani outpost close to the Afghan border.

Heavily armed militants attacked a Pakistani security outpost near the border with Afghanistan early Monday, resulting in the deaths of five soldiers and seven assailants in the ensuing firefight.

Security officials confirmed the deaths to VOA, saying the attack occurred in the remote Tirah valley in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and resulted in injuries to six soldiers.

Hours later, the media wing of the Pakistani military also confirmed the casualties suffered by its forces in the clashes in the former militant stronghold, saying that seven militants were killed in retaliatory fire.

“A large quantity of weapons, ammunition, and explosives was also recovered from the killed terrorists who remained actively involved in numerous terrorist activities against the security forces as well as innocent civilians,” the statement added.

Militants allied with the outlawed Pakistani Taliban, formally known as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, TTP, released a statement claiming responsibility for staging the raid in Tirah.

The deadly attack came a day after the Pakistani military reported that a counterterrorism raid near the provincial capital of Peshawar killed two Pakistani soldiers and five alleged “terrorists” believed to be linked to TTP.

Sunday, Pakistani Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi also renewed Islamabad’s demand for the Taliban government in Afghanistan to immediately stop TTP leaders and fighters from orchestrating cross-border terrorism from their alleged havens in the neighboring country.

Naqvi stated at a news conference that “if the TTP headquarters remain in Afghanistan” and no action is taken to dismantle them, it would become “very challenging” for Islamabad to improve relations with the de facto Kabul rulers.

“We want good relations with Afghanistan, but this is possible only if they do not allow their land to be used for terrorism against Pakistan,” Naqvi said. “But it is imperative (for the Taliban) that the individuals engaged in terrorism within their borders are apprehended, prosecuted, or surrendered to us.”

The minister also stated that TTP had planned and directed from Afghan sanctuaries a suicide car bombing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this past March that killed five Chinese engineers along with their Pakistani driver. The Chinese nationals were working on a major hydropower project, known as the Dasu Dam, in the province.

Naqvi said that the suicide bomber was an Afghan national, noting that Pakistani authorities have arrested 11 people in connection with the attack and plan to prosecute them soon.

The Taliban government rejects allegations TTP is operating out of their territory, saying they are not allowing anyone to use Afghan soil to threaten neighboring countries or beyond.

Skeptics question those assertions. A recent United Nations report on the security situation in Afghanistan highlighted the Taliban’s continued close ties to al-Qaida operatives, saying the terrorist network has established new training camps in the country and is facilitating TTP in conducting cross-border attacks against Pakistan.

Our Correspondent

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