Gunfire from across the Afghan border have killed two Pakistani soldiers, the army said, in the first such attack since the Taliban took over Kabul 10 days ago.
The army said it retaliated and killed two or three attackers, a claim not verifiable because the tribal districts along the Afghan border are off-limits to journalists and human rights organisations. The incident on Sunday in Pakistan’s Bajaur district is the first of its kind reported since the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15.
Bajaur is one of several lawless tribal regions along the Afghan border which have long sheltered fighters, including the Pakistan Taliban, known by the acronym TTP.
The TTP, which renewed its allegiance to the Taliban in Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul, has recently stepped up its campaign against the Pakistani army.
The army did not say which group it thought was responsible for Sunday’s attack, but has long held that TTP leaders and fighters are sheltering in Afghanistan after fleeing the tribal districts during military operations targeting armed groups.
“As per intelligence reports, due to fire of Pakistan army troops, 2-3 terrorists got killed and 3-4 terrorists got injured,” the military said in a statement.
The statement condemned “the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for activities against Pakistan and expects that existing and future set-up in Afghanistan will not allow such activities against Pakistan”.
Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad has said Islamabad expected the Taliban to ensure that the anti-Pakistan TTP did not use Afghan soil as a launchpad for attacks in Pakistan.
Islamabad accuses the Pakistan Taliban of having used Afghanistan as a base to carry a suicide attack in northern Pakistan in July that killed nine Chinese workers and four Pakistanis.
“We expected that the way things were unfolding in Afghanistan, the violence can spill over in Pakistan,” Pakistan army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar told a news conference on Friday.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Muhaid said in his maiden news conference that the Taliban would not allow any group to use Afghan soil to launch attacks against anyone.