Four soldiers have been killed in an exchange of gunfire with the Pakistani Taliban, the country’s army said, in the deadliest confrontation between the armed group and security forces since a truce was called off earlier this month.
The military said on Friday that security forces raided two hideouts in a former Taliban stronghold near Afghanistan.
The first raid was carried out in the Tank district in the northwest, killing two armed fighters, the statement said.
The other strike was carried out in the North Waziristan district, capturing a fighter before four soldiers died in the fighting.
Security forces were raiding suspected hideouts in the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan when the soldiers were killed “during an intense exchange of fire”.
One “terrorist” was apprehended with weapons and ammunition, the statement added.
The military said troops seized a cache of weapons during both raids.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – a separate movement that shares common roots with the Afghan Taliban that took power in Afghanistan in August – confirmed the army raid was on one of its hideouts.
Pakistan’s restive border region has long been a stronghold for groups such as the TTP, which operates across the porous boundary with Afghanistan.
Founded in 2007, the movement is most notorious for a 2014 attack on a school in Peshawar which killed nearly 150 children.
In response, Pakistan waged a crushing crackdown on the armed group, forcing fighters into hiding in Afghanistan.
Pakistan is now attempting to quash a TTP resurgence following the victory of the Afghan Taliban.
The TTP and Islamabad agreed to a truce in November. But that fell through on December 10, with the hardliners accusing the government of violating the terms of the deal.
The latest violence in the northwest comes a day after a roadside bomb exploded outside a college in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing six people and wounding at least 13 others.