Militant fire across Afghan border kills two Pak soldiers, says army
Militant fire from across the border in Afghanistan killed two Pakistani soldiers on Sunday, the army said, in the first such attack since the Taliban took over Kabul two weeks ago.
The army 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 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 an allegiance to the Afghan Taliban after the fall of Kabul, has recently stepped up its campaign against the Pakistani army.
The army did not say which group it thought was responsible for Sunday’s attack, but has long held that TTP leaders and fighters are sheltering in Afghanistan after fleeing the tribal districts during military operations targeting militants.
The TTP claimed responsibility for the attack in a Telegram message shared with a Reuters journalist, and 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.
The statement 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 launch pad for attacks inside Pakistan.
The Afghan Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Muhaid said in his maiden news conference that the militants wouldn’t allow any group to use Afghan soil against anyone.