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Pakistan: Seven soldiers killed in another terrorist attack in restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Seven members of the Pakistani Army were killed in an IED blast targeting a convoy carrying security personnel in the Lakki Marwat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bordering Afghanistan. The area has been known for insurgent attacks by radical Islamist groups led by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Peshawar Published on: June 09, 2024 20:55 IST
Representational Image
Image Source : PIXABAY Representational Image

Peshawar: In another terror attack in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, seven soldiers, including a Captain, were killed in a bomb blast on Sunday in the Lakki Marwat district, which is on the edge of a lawless tribal region near the border along with Afghanistan. A security convoy was heading towards Kachi Qamar, when it was attacked by terrorists.

First, the terrorists attacked the Army officers with an improvised explosive device (IED) blast and later opened fire on the personnel. The IED exploded near the military vehicle, killing seven soldiers including an officer, the army said in a statement. "The perpetrators of this heinous act will be brought to justice," it said.

“Sanitization of the area is being carried out to eliminate any terrorists present in the area, and perpetrators of this heinous act will be brought to justice,” the military stated. The attack came after Pakistan and China jointly called on Afghanistan to combat terrorism, including not allowing its territory to be used for terrorist attacks.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the region has long been a safe haven for Islamist militants who operate on both sides of the border. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella group of radical Islamist groups, has been waging a war against the state to try to overthrow the government.

TTP operations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The group, which is believed to be close to al-Qaeda, has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases, and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan emboldened TTP, whose top leaders and fighters are hiding in Afghanistan.

In January last year, TTP militants unleashed an explosion in a crowded mosque inside a highly secured police compound in the city of Peshawar, resulting in the killing of at least 100 security personnel. However, while Pakistan has stated that hostile groups operate from "sanctuaries" across the border, the Taliban government routinely denies the charges.

Kabul has previously said rising violence in Pakistan is a domestic issue for Islamabad. Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have soured in recent months, as Islamabad accused Kabul is not doing enough to tackle militant groups targeting Pakistan.

A United Nations report published earlier this year said the Taliban continued to be “sympathetic” to the TTP and supplied it with weapons and equipment, and some Afghan Taliban members joined the TTP in conducting cross-border raids against Pakistan, according to Voice of America.

Terrorism in Pakistan

On June 1, at least four Pakistani Army soldiers were killed and three others injured following an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to police. The incident occurred late on Friday evening when the security forces were on patrol duty in Sra Bangla and Tarkhanan area of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Pakistan saw at least 245 terror attacks, primarily in the violence-prone Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, during the first quarter of 2024 that resulted in 432 deaths and 370 injuries among civilians, security personnel and rebels, according to a think tank report. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan accounted for 86 per cent of the attacks and 92 per cent of the deaths.

Terror attacks in Pakistan have surged once again following a brief lull in March, as the country experienced 77 verifiable attacks in April, according to a security assessment report by the Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS). Unsurprisingly, the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bore the brunt, as 73 per cent of the total number of militant attacks took place here.

(with inputs from agencies)

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