Pakistan: Militant Attack Kills 23 Troops

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ISLAMABAD — 

An early morning militant attack in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province killed 23 troops Tuesday.

The attack occurred in Daraban, a remote area in the militancy-hit district of Dera Ismail Khan near Pakistan’s tribal districts bordering Afghanistan.

Inter Services Public Relations or ISPR, the Pakistani military’s media wing, confirmed the death toll. It also said the military killed 27 terrorists in multiple operations.

The military’s statement sent to the media several hours after the Daraban incident said six terrorists attacked a security forces’ post in the early hours of the morning.

“The attempt to enter the post was effectively thwarted which forced the terrorists to ram an explosive-laden vehicle into the post, followed by a suicide bombing attack.”

According to the military’s statement, the building of the military camp collapsed because of the ensuing blast, causing multiple casualties.

The statement said all six terrorists were “effectively engaged and sent to hell,” implying the attackers were killed in military action.

The overnight militant attack came after operations targeted terrorists in the larger Dera Ismail Khan area between December 11 and 12. The ISPR said 21 terrorists were killed in those intelligence-based operations in which two soldiers also died.

Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan, a relatively new and less-known militant group claimed responsibility for the attack in Daraban.

The group has carried out several high-profile raids against security forces in recent months including an attack on an air force base in early November that damaged three aircraft.

In July, the group claimed responsibility for attacking a military base in southwestern Baluchistan province and killing 12 Pakistani soldiers.

Condemning the attack in a message on X, formerly Twitter, Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar expressed the country’s resolve to continue fighting terrorism.

Pakistan said Tuesday’s deadly assault was carried out by fugitive militants operating out of sanctuaries in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and summoned the neighboring country’s chief diplomat to protest it.

A foreign ministry statement said that Islamabad asked Kabul to urgently take “stern action” against the perpetrators of the raid and deny “the persistent use of Afghan soil” for terrorism against Pakistan. It described TJP as a “terrorist group affiliated” with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, which routinely plots and claims attacks against Pakistani security forces.

The statement called on the Afghan Taliban to take “verifiable actions” against all terrorist groups and their sanctuaries in Afghanistan. It demanded that Kabul hand over the perpetrators of Tuesday’s attack and the TTP leadership to Pakistan.

There was no immediate response from the Afghan Taliban to Pakistani allegations.

Pakistani military and police are coming under frequent deadly attacks, primarily in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.

Pakistan alleges terrorists present on Afghan soil are responsible for the surge and accuses Afghan Taliban of providing them a haven. The de facto rulers in Kabul deny the charge.

Source: Voice of America