At least six Pakistani troops were killed in a clash with suspected militants in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday, the military said.
The incident, which claimed the highest number of troops casualties this year, took place in the Dirduni area of restive North Waziristan district, which sits near Afghanistan’s border, a statement from Pakistan Army’s media wing said, accoridng to Anadolu Agnecy.
At least three suspected militants were also killed and another two injured in the clash.
Sanitization of the area is being carried out to eliminate any terrorists found in the area, the statement said.
“Security forces of Pakistan are determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers further strengthen our resolve,” the statement concluded.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. However, security agencies blame the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella group of several militant outfits reportedly operating from bordering areas in Afghanistan, for such attacks.
North Waziristan – once dubbed the heartland of militancy – is one of seven former semi-autonomous tribal regions in Pakistan where the army has conducted a series of operations since 2014 to eliminate the TTP.
Successive operations have pushed the TTP towards neighboring Afghanistan, and Islamabad claims the terrorist network has now set up bases across the border to attack Pakistani security forces.
The latest attack comes days before Afghanistan’s interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi’s visit to Islamabad where he is supposed to discuss a variety of issues with Pakistani leadership, mainly the border management and transit trade.