Pakistan said Tuesday that a counterterrorism raid in a volatile district on the border with Afghanistan had killed at least six soldiers and four “terrorists” in the ensuing clashes.
The troops “effectively engaged the terrorists’ location” in South Waziristan and injured two other insurgents, according to the Pakistani military’s media wing.
“However, during an intense exchange of fire, six brave soldiers, having fought gallantly, embraced shahadat [martyrdom],” Inter-Services Public Relations said.
The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, claimed responsibility for inflicting the casualties, saying the shootout erupted after its fighters ambushed a military convoy in the remote district. The insurgent group claimed a significantly higher number of Pakistani troop casualties, but it often releases exaggerated claims.
Pakistani officials maintain that fugitive TTP commanders have moved their bases to Afghanistan and intensified cross-border terrorism since the Taliban retook control of the neighboring country two years ago.
On Sunday, a bomb explosion hit a vehicle transporting laborers to a police post in the turbulent North Waziristan district adjacent to South Waziristan. Officials confirmed the killing of 11 laborers.
Afghan Taliban authorities reject the allegations, saying they are not allowing any group to use their soil against other countries, including Pakistan.
This year alone, TTP-led insurgent violence has killed nearly 500 people in Pakistan, including civilians and security forces. Army officials have confirmed the death of around 130 officers and soldiers.
The TTP, an offshoot and close ally of the Afghan Taliban, claims its insurgent campaign aims to bring an “Islamic system” to Pakistan. The United States and the United Nations have listed the TTP as a global terrorist organization.
A U.N. report last month said that up to 6,000 TTP fighters are operating out of Afghanistan.
Last month, a suicide bomb explosion ripped through a political rally in Bajaur, another volatile district bordering Afghanistan. The blast killed over 60 people, including children, and wounded many more. The Islamic State terrorist group claimed that attack.