Map of Pakistan-Afghanistan border
Pakistan-Afghanistan border

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan said Friday four of its soldiers were killed when “terrorists” raided a security post in a remote northwestern district.

The overnight attack occurred in South Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan, an army statement said.

Pakistani troops responded promptly and killed four assailants, it added.

No one immediately took responsibility for the attack.

The district is a known former stronghold of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, an alliance of outlawed extremist groups. TTP is also known as the Pakistani Taliban.

Pakistani officials say sustained military-led operations in recent years have cleared Waziristan and surrounding districts of militants, aside from isolated pockets.

The security operations have killed thousands of militants and forced others to take refuge in volatile Afghan border districts.

The United Nations said in a recent report that TTP has regrouped in Afghanistan and gained strength.

The TTP has “overseen a reunification of splinter groups that took place in Afghanistan and was moderated by Al-Qaida,” according to the 27th U.N. Analytical and Monitoring Team report of Feb. 3.

“One member state reported that TTP was responsible for more than 100 cross-border attacks between July and October 2020,” it said.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Chaudhri reiterated Friday the report “vindicates” Islamabad’s longstanding stance on threats posed to the country by groups like the TTP and their affiliates based in Afghanistan. 
 
“Pakistan expects that a dedicated effort will be launched by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and the Resolute Support mission to neutralize this threat emanating from Afghanistan,” Chaudhri told a weekly news briefing in Islamabad. 
 
The Afghan-based Resolute Support mission, which includes U.S. and NATO troops, is mandated to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces battling the Afghan Taliban insurgency there.  
 
For their part, leaders in Afghanistan have long alleged Pakistan allows the insurgents to use its soil to orchestrate deadly attacks against Afghan security forces and civilians, charges Islamabad rejects.

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