Map of North Waziristan, Pakistan
North Waziristan, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD - Authorities in Pakistan said Monday at least one soldier and five “terrorists” were killed in clashes in a volatile district that borders Afghanistan. 

The early morning violence in North Waziristan erupted after a group of armed militants assaulted a security outpost in the former terrorist stronghold. 

A military statement said Pakistani “troops effectively engaged the terrorists” and a post-attack operation in search of the assailants was underway in the area, about 10 kilometers west of the district center of Miranshah. 

The rugged mountainous Waziristan district had for years served as a sanctuary for local and transnational terrorist groups blamed for plotting attacks on both sides of the traditionally porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.  

Pakistani military officials say a major counter-militancy ground and air offensive over the last six years has cleared most of the district of terrorists, and a reconstruction effort is currently underway there. 

North Waziristan, however, has experienced an increase in violence this month, resulting in the deaths of at least five Pakistani soldiers and about two dozen militants.    

The resurgent hostilities come at a time when Pakistani troops are working closely with civilian authorities to assist in relief operations in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, and enforce ensuing lockdowns to limit the spread of the pandemic in Pakistan.   

The virus, which causes COVID-19, has infected nearly 8,500 people and killed 176 since Pakistan detected the outbreak in late February. 

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