Six soldiers and four militants were killed in a fierce gun battle in Pakistan’s rugged South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, the military said Tuesday.
Pakistan’s Taliban, who frequently exaggerate their successes, claimed responsibility for an attack in the area they said killed 18 troops.
The country has seen a sharp rise in militant attacks since the Afghan Taliban surged back to power in neighboring Afghanistan in 2021.
The Pakistani military’s publicity wing said “four terrorists were sent to hell” during an intense exchange of fire.
“Six brave soldiers having fought gallantly, embraced shahadat (martyrdom),” the Inter-Services Public Relations wing said.
Pakistan’s home-grown Taliban group, Tehreek–e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has waged a growing campaign against security officials.
“Mujahideen of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan successfully ambushed two army vehicles… in which 18 army personnel were killed,” the group said in a statement.
TTP assaults have largely been focused in regions abutting Afghanistan, and Islamabad alleges some are being planned on Afghan soil — a charge Kabul denies.
On Sunday, 11 laborers were killed by a bomb attached to a vehicle taking them to work on a police post in North Waziristan.
In January, a suicide bomber linked to Pakistan’s Taliban blew himself up in a mosque inside a police compound in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing more than 80 officers.
Last month, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed at least 54 people, including 23 children, at a political party gathering ahead of elections due later this year.
Pakistan was once plagued by almost daily bombings, but a major military clearance operation in the former tribal areas starting in 2014 largely restored order.
The seven remote districts that border Afghanistan, of which South Waziristan is one, were later brought under the control of Pakistani authorities after the passage of legislation in 2018.