The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed the responsibility for attacks on security forces near the Pakistan-Afghan border earlier this week.
The security forces were attacked in Zhob, Balochistan, North Waziristan, and Bajaur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The attacks resulted in the death of nine personnel, including a captain, while several soldiers were wounded.
“Mujahideen attacked soldiers in Garyum area of North Waziristan when they were coming to start operation,” claimed TTP spokesman Mohammad Khurassani in a statement issued to the media from an unknown location.
The Inter-Services Public Relations, the military’s media department, confirmed martyrdom of Captain Faheem and two soldiers, Shafi and Naseem, in North Waziristan. The army had said that troops conducted an intelligence-based operation in the area in which two terrorists were also killed.
On Wednesday, four troops of the Frontier Corps were martyred while six others were wounded after militants attacked the security personnel from across the border during a fencing activity along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Manzakai Sector, Zhob. Those who were killed include Havaldar Noor Zaman, Sepoy Shakeel Abbas, Sepoy Ehsan Ullah, and Naik Sultan.
Two security personnel were martyred and two others suffered injuries when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Mamound tehsil of the district.
Last month, a TTP bomber had blown himself up in the parking lot of Quetta’s Serena Hotel. The government had said that the attack was meant to target the Chinese envoy, Nong Rong, who was staying at the hotel, while the Taliban claimed that it had targeted a high-level meeting of the state officials.
The bomb went off moments ahead of the envoy’s arrival and he remained safe. Five people had died while 12 were injured in the attack.
Bolstering their bid to re-establish themselves in the border lands, the Taliban struck an alliance in July with half a dozen small militant factions with Noor Wali Mehsud as its emir.
At least 109 people were killed in 67 attacks between January and July – twice the number in 2019, according to the FATA Research Centre. “The group’s capability and military strength has increased, as has their reach,” said Mansur Khan Mahsud, executive director of the Islamabad-based FATA Research Centre, while talking to Reuters in September last year.
“TTP’s regrouping is concerning both because of its own activities and its links to groups like al Qaeda,” said Elizabeth Threlkeld, a former State Department official who served in Pakistan, now deputy-director for the South Asia program at the Washington-based Stimson Center.
“It could again provide significant support to international terror groups if it continues to regain ground.”
The United Nations said in a report in July there were more than 6,000 Pakistani fighters in Afghanistan, most affiliated with the TTP, who could be heading home if they lose their refuge. “It’s a concern for everyone,” a Western security official based in Pakistan told Reuters on condition of anonymity.