At least five soldiers were martyred after terrorists launched a cross-border attack from Afghanistan on the Pakistan troops stationed in Kurram district, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.
The military’s media wing said that the Pakistani troops responded befittingly to the attack, adding that as per “intelligence reports” the “terrorists suffered heavy causalities”.
The five soldiers martyred during the exchange of fire included 34-year-old Lance Naik Ajab Noor (resident of Karachi), 22-year-old Sepoy Ziaullah Khan (resident of Lakki Marwat), 23-year-old Sepoy Naheed Iqbal (resident of Karak), 18-year-old Sepoy Sameerullah Khan (resident of Bannu) and 27-year old Sepoy Sajid Ali (resident of Bahawalnagar).
“Pakistan strongly condemns the use of Afghan soil by terrorists for activities against Pakistan and expects that the interim Afghan government will not allow the conduct of such activities against Pakistan in future,” said the ISPR in response to the attack.
“Pak Army is determined to defend Pakistan’s borders against the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave men further strengthen our resolve,” the statement added.
This is the first time Pakistan officially condemned the use of Afghan soil against it under the Taliban rule. On previous occasions, Pakistan opted to downplay similar incidents. Even when the local Taliban soldiers tried to disrupt the border fencing, Pakistan termed it a “localised problem”.
It appears now that Pakistan is running out of patience with the interim Taliban government as despite its repeated promises Afghan soil continued to be used by terrorists against Pakistan.
INTERIOR MINISTER: Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, while condemning the terrorist attack, said in a statement that the interim Taliban government should ensure that such attacks do not take place as promised.
Paying homage to the sacrifices of the security forces, he said that their sacrifices will not go in vain.
The latest incident came on the heels of coordinated terrorist attacks in the Panjgur and Naushki areas of Balochistan. The Pakistani intelligence agencies intercepted communication between the attackers and their handlers in India and Afghanistan.
It is believed that Pakistan has conveyed its concerns to the Taliban government about the repeated use of Afghan soil by terrorists.
The Taliban government, during the recent visit of National Security Advisor Dr Moeed Yusuf, assured that Afghan soil would not be allowed to use against anyone including Pakistan.
Since the Taliban takeover, Islamabad wanted the interim government to either take action against banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or deny them space to operate out of Afghan soil.
But the Afghan Taliban instead offered to broker a peace deal between Pakistan and the TTP. It was because of this reason that the TTP had agreed to a month-long ceasefire in November. But the truce ended with no progress in peace talks.
Since then, the TTP stepped up attacks while Pakistan also resumed operations against the terrorist outfit.
The Afghan Taliban are thought to be still keen to revive talks between Pakistan and the TTP but the spike in terrorist attacks mean there are no prospects of such talks in the foreseeable future.