ISLAMABAD - Authorities in Pakistan said Friday an army major and a soldier were killed in a bomb explosion near the border with Afghanistan.
The Pakistani military said the improvised explosive device (IED) was targeted at workers who were installing a border security fence in the remote Mohmand district.
Military spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor noted in a brief statement the army major was “supervising fencing work in an area,” which is a “critical infiltration route,” when both soldiers “fell victim to an IED planted by terrorists from across the border.”
Cross-border militant attacks often target Pakistani troops building a robust fence along the country’s nearly 2,600-kilometer largely porous border with Afghanistan.
The Pakistani military said recently that three of its soldiers were killed in the North Waziristan district on the border when they came under attack from the Afghan side of the frontier.
Pakistan unilaterally began the fencing and construction of new border outposts two years ago to plug hundreds of informal crossings that were encouraging terrorist infiltration in both directions.
The massive border security project, officials say, will be in place by end of 2020, with authorities hoping it will help address, to a large extent, mutual concerns of illegal crossings of militants and drug traffickers in either direction.
Pakistan maintains fugitive anti-state militants have taken refuge in ungoverned Afghan border areas after fleeing military operations, orchestrating attacks in a bid to return to their former strongholds.
For its part, the Afghan government alleges that Taliban insurgents use sanctuaries on Pakistani soil for orchestrating attacks in Afghanistan. The allegations and counter-allegations are at the center of strained ties between the two countries.