Two Pakistani soldiers killed by militant fire from Afghanistan
Militants opened fire from Afghanistan on Sunday, killing two Pakistani soldiers in a border district, Reuters reported.
The Pakistani army said it responded by launching its own offensive, which killed two or three attackers, according to Reuters.
“As per intelligence reports, due to fire of Pakistan army troops, 2-3 terrorists got killed and 3-4 terrorists got injured,” the Pakistani military said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The news wire noted, however, that the report of a retaliatory attack is not verifiable because journalists and human rights organizations are not permitted to be in tribal districts along the Afghan border.
The incident, which took place in Pakistan’s Bajaur district, was reportedly the first attack of this kind since the Taliban seized control of the capital city of Kabul earlier this month, unleashing chaos in the region.
Bajaur is one of a number of lawless tribal regions on the Afghan border that have been longtime destinations for militants, Reuters noted, including an Islamic militant organization dubbed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
TTP, which threw its allegiance to the Afghan Taliban after Kabul fell, reportedly took responsibility for the attack in a telegram message shared with Reuters, but it rejected reports that the group suffered losses in a retaliatory attack.
The Pakistani army has not said which group it believes is behind the attack but has for a while accused TTP leaders and fighters of housing in Afghanistan after leaving the tribal districts during military operations that were aimed at militants, Reuters noted.
A statement from the Pakistani army denounced the “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,” according to the news wire.
The violence between militants and the Pakistani army comes after the Taliban overran Kabul earlier this month, toppling the Afghan government.
The insurgent group has been tightening its grip on Afghanistan ever since as the U.S. inches closer to pulling all its troops from the region.