7 Pakistani troops killed in terrorist attacks
Soldiers killed in separate incidents in country's southwest and northwest
At least seven Pakistani army and paramilitary troops were killed and six others injured in two separate incidents in the country's southwest and northwest on Wednesday, the military said.
Some four paramilitary troops were killed and six injured in the Zhob district of southwestern Balochistan while fencing the border with the Afghan province of Zabul.
It was the latest in a series of similar incidents in the restive North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal districts.
"Terrorists from across Afghanistan ambushed FC (Frontier Corps) troops moving for fencing. Four FC soldiers embraced shahadat (martyrdom), while six got injured," said a statement by ISPR, the military's media wing.
Pakistan has long accused the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) of targeting security forces and civilians from "safe havens" across the border.
To prevent such attacks, Pakistan is fencing a 2,400-kilometer (1,500-mile) border with Afghanistan, also known as the Durand Line.
US troops have started pulling out of Afghanistan in line with a 2020 peace agreement with the Taliban.
In another incident, three army troops, including a captain, were killed in a clash with suspected militants in North Waziristan.
Two suspected militants were also killed in the clash, the army said.
North Waziristan – once dubbed the heartland of militancy – is one of seven former semi-autonomous tribal regions in Pakistan where the army has conducted a series of operations since 2014 to eliminate the TTP.
More than 5,000 suspected militants and over 700 soldiers have been killed in aerial strikes, clashes, and landmine blasts over the past six years. The figures, however, could not be independently verified as media access to the former tribal areas is restricted.
The successive operations have pushed the TTP towards neighboring Afghanistan, and Islamabad claims the terrorist network has now set up bases across the border to attack Pakistani security forces.
The military operation has also displaced over a million people, but the government claims 95% of them have returned to their homes.
The areas, including North Waziristan, have recently been given the status of districts and merged with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.