Pakistan confirmed Monday that an overnight suicide bombing of a military convoy in a northwestern region had killed two civilians.
The military’s media wing reported that Sunday’s attack in Bannu, a garrison district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, had also injured seven civilians and three soldiers.
The army statement said a “motorcycle-borne suicide bomber… exploded himself” near the convoy, adding that a post-attack search operation was underway “to eliminate any other terrorists found in the area.”
The bomber was identified as an Afghan national affiliated with the anti-state Hafiz Gul Bahadur militant group, known as a close ally of Afghanistan’s ruling Islamist Taliban.
Separately, an overnight military statement said that an “intelligence-based” raid in the province’s turbulent South Waziristan district near the Afghan border killed eight “terrorists.”
Sunday’s raid targeted a hideout of the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, which routinely plots attacks on security forces.
Pakistan says TTP and other fugitive militants operating out of sanctuaries in Afghanistan have dramatically intensified attacks since the Taliban returned to power in the neighboring country two years ago.
Authorities have confirmed that Afghan militants carried out at least 16 suicide bombings this year in collaboration with the TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban.
The violence has prompted the Pakistani government to unleash a nationwide deportation campaign against an estimated 1.7 million undocumented Afghan nationals in the country.
The crackdown has forced nearly 400,000 individuals to return to Afghanistan since mid-September, according to official data.
Pakistani caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar defended the deportation drive in a statement earlier this month, saying TTP and other Afghan-based militants have killed more than 2,300 people, including security forces, in the last two years.
Kakar said the Taliban government in Kabul had failed to rein in the cross-border terrorism and demanded the extradition of an officially estimated 6,000 TTP members sheltering in Afghanistan. He went on to allege that Afghan Taliban members also help militants in carrying out some of the attacks.
The Taliban have rejected allegations their members or territory is being used for attacks against Pakistan or any other country.
Recent United Nations reports have documented the presence of thousands of TTP and militants linked to other terrorist groups in Afghanistan, contradicting Taliban claims about fighting terrorism.