ISLAMABAD: Three militants were killed in two separate shootouts with security forces in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, the Pakistani military said on Saturday.
In the first shootout in the Khyber district, a militant sniper was killed and security personnel seized his weapon and ammunition from the scene, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military’s media wing.
Another encounter took place between Pakistani troops and militants in the militancy-infested South Waziristan district, in which two militants were killed.
“The killed terrorists remained actively involved in terrorist activities against security forces as well as killing of innocent citizens,” the ISPR said in a statement. “Sanitization of the area is being carried out to eliminate any other terrorists found in the area.”
The development comes amid a surge in militant attacks in Pakistan’s northwestern and southwestern regions that border Afghanistan. The attacks have particularly increased after the Pakistani Taliban, or the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), called off a fragile, months-long truce with the central government in Islamabad in November last year.
The militant group, which is said to have sanctuaries in neighboring Afghanistan, is separate from but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban.
Islamabad says it has time and again raised the matter of TTP with the Afghan Taliban authorities, but there has been a lukewarm response from Kabul. The Pakistani foreign office this week also ruled out the possibility of talks with “elements” involved in the killing of security personnel and civilians.