Two soldiers and one militant have been killed in a shootout during an overnight military operation against militant activity in Pakistan's northwest alongside the border with Afghanistan.
A military statement late Friday said security forces initiated an operation in Miran Shah, the main town of North Waziristan, “to eliminate remaining terrorists” after receiving concrete intelligence reports about the presence of militants.
It said as troops closed in on the location, a group of militants was spotted and intercepted, triggering an intensive shootout, resulting in the death of the army major leading the operation and another soldier.
One militant was killed and another injured.
The army said they conducted another raid on a militant hideout in Tirah valley of Khyber district along with the border with Afghanistan, where a soldier and a militant were killed early Friday.
Increased militant attacks
Militant attacks on security forces in the northwest saw an increase in recent days.
On Thursday, a suicide bomber targeted a security convoy in northwest Pakistan, killing nine soldiers and wounding 20 others. The attack happened in Bannu, a district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Bannu is the gateway to North Waziristan, which has served for decades as a safe haven for militants until the military carried out a massive operation against militants after an attack on an army-run school in Peshawar in 2014 killed more than 150, mostly school children.
After the years-long operation, the army announced it had cleared the region of local and foreign militants.
Occasional attacks have continued, however, raising concerns that the local Taliban, known as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), found sanctuaries in Afghanistan and are regrouping in the area.
The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but allies of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan in 2021 following the withdrawal of US and NATO troops.
In 2022, they ended a cease-fire with the government in Islamabad and ordered its terrorists to resume attacks across the country.
Pakistan has repeatedly asked the interim Afghan government to act against “individuals and entities that threaten Pakistan” and live up to its commitments to the international community.