ISLAMABAD: Pakistani troops killed two militants in an intelligence-based operation in the country’s northwest, the Pakistani military said on Saturday.
The operation was conducted in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan tribal district that was once a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban, or the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is a separate group but aligned with the Afghan Taliban.
The two sides exchanged intense gunfire during the operation that resulted in the killing of militants, including Commander Khabaib Alias Bilal of TTP’s Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group, said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistani military’s media wing.
“Weapons and ammunition were also recovered from the killed terrorists. The killed terrorists remained actively involved in terrorist activities against security forces, preparation of IEDs and killing of innocent citizens,” the ISPR said in a statement.
“Terrorist Commander Khabaib was also involved in suicide attack on security forces’ convoy in Mir Ali in August 2022.”
The development came a day after a roadside bombing killed two policemen in the Bajaur tribal district. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Abdus Samad Khan, the Bajaur district police chief, said the bomb was remotely detonated.
Pakistan’s northwestern tribal districts have long been a sanctuary of the Pakistani Taliban until the military cleansed the region of militants in a grand offensive that was launched in June 2014.
However, isolated attacks have continued in the region, though the Pakistani Taliban have not claimed responsibility for any of the attacks since May, when talks began between the TTP and the Pakistani government in Kabul. A cease-fire has been in place since then.
The talks in Kabul are being facilitated by the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan a year ago as the US and allied troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country.
The Taliban takeover of Kabul has emboldened the Pakistani Taliban, who Pakistani officials say have been hiding in Afghanistan.