Afghanistan-Pakistan border: Militant fire kills 2 Pakistani soldiers
Representational Image (Photo by BANARAS KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MILITANT fire from across the border in Afghanistan killed two Pakistani soldiers on Sunday (29), the army said.
Islamabad said it retaliated and killed two or three attackers, a claim not verifiable because the tribal districts along the Afghan border are off-limits to journalists and human rights organisations.
The incident in Pakistan’s Bajaur district was the first of its kind reported since the Taliban took over the Afghan capital Kabul on August 15.
Bajaur is one of several lawless tribal regions along the Afghan border that have long sheltered militants, including an Islamist militant umbrella organisation called Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The TTP, which renewed allegiance to the Afghan Taliban after the fall of Kabul, has recently stepped up its campaign against the Pakistani army.
Pakistan’s army did not say which group it thought was responsible for the attack but has long held that TTP leaders and fighters are sheltering in Afghanistan after fleeing the tribal districts during military operations targeting militants.
In a Telegram message, the TTP claimed responsibility for the attack but denied having suffered any losses in the retaliatory fire.
“As per intelligence reports, due to fire of Pakistan army troops, 2-3 terrorists got killed and 3-4 terrorists got injured,” the military said in a statement.
It condemned “the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for activities against Pakistan and expects that existing and future set-up in Afghanistan will not allow such activities against Pakistan.”
Pakistani interior minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad has said Islamabad expects the Afghan Taliban to ensure that the anti-Pakistan Taliban does not use Afghan soil as a launchpad for attacks inside Pakistan.
Islamabad accused the TTP of having used Afghanistan as a base to carry a suicide attack in northern Pakistan in July that killed nine Chinese workers and four Pakistanis.
“We expected that the way things were unfolding in Afghanistan, the violence can spill over in Pakistan,” Pakistan army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar told a news conference on Friday (27).
The Afghan Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Muhaid said in his maiden news conference that the Islamist militants wouldn’t allow any group to use Afghan soil against anyone.