Pakistani security forces killed seven militants in a firefight after insurgents crossed the Afghan border into Pakistan’s restive tribal region, the military said Tuesday.
Officials said the clashes erupted late Monday, October 1 when militants attacked a Pakistani border post in North Waziristan tribal district.
“During [the] exchange of fire seven terrorists [were] killed while three [were] injured,” the military said in a statement.
The militants may have been part of the group led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur that is associated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and aligned with the Haqqani network, Dawn reported a military source as saying.
Violence in Pakistan has declined dramatically in recent years following a series of military operations along the northwestern border with Afghanistan, but militant groups are still able to carry out deadly attacks.
In April, Afghanistan deployed troops after a cross-border gunfight with Pakistani security forces along the Durand Line left at least three people dead.
In 2014, Pakistan’s army launched Zarb-i-Azb, a massive operation to wipe out militant bases in North Waziristan and end the near decade-long insurgency that has cost thousands of lives.
The operation intensified after the Taliban massacred more than 150 people, the majority of them children, at a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December 2014.
In 2016, the Pakistani army claimed to have cleared the last militant stronghold in the country’s northwest after a three-month long operation.
But analysts have long warned that Pakistan is not tackling the root causes of extremism, and that militants retain the ability to carry out spectacular attacks.
A suicide blast in the southwestern province of Balochistan on July 13 killed at least 149 people during a campaign rally – one of Pakistan’s worst-ever terror attacks – underscoring continuing security challenges in the country following years of dramatic improvements.
With reporting from AFP