Pakistani Taliban faction says it carried out attack on border post as suicide attack is ‘foiled in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’.
Islamabad, Pakistan – At least nine suspected Pakistan Taliban fighters and three soldiers have been killed in an attack following a joint military and police raid in the central district of Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan’s military says.
Two soldiers were also wounded in the clash, which targeted a suspected Taliban hideout in the Basti Dadwani area of Dera Ghazi Khan, about 490km south of the capital Islamabad, the military said in a statement.
Pakistan Ranger units – a paramilitary force – were carrying out a search operation in the area to arrest other suspects, it said.
Friday’s raid came as part of the military’s Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad (Elimination of Chaos), launched in the wake of a string of suicide bombings and attacks that killed at least 130 people across Pakistan in February.
Pakistan has launched a series of military operations since 2007 targeting the Pakistan Taliban, known as TTP, and its allies, mostly in the country’s tribal areas.
The last operation, Zarb-e-Azb, was launched in 2014 and targeted Pakistan Taliban bases in their northwestern stronghold of North Waziristan.
Over the course of two years, that operation expanded from North Waziristan to include military raids in towns and urban centres across the country. Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, Pakistan’s military says, aims to continue to consolidate gains made during Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
Last year, Pakistan’s military said it had killed at least 3,500 fighters belonging to the Pakistan Taliban and other armed groups. In the process, at least 583 soldiers were killed, the military says.