Islamabad: Five Pakistani soldiers were killed in attacks on northwestern border checkpoints launched by dozens of militants based in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s military said on Monday, as officials demanded that the neighboring country rein in such violence.
Relations between the two countries are tense, and each routinely accuses the other of doing too little to prevent Taliban fighters and other militants from operating in its territory.
“Dozens” of militants from across the border stormed security posts in Pakistan’s Mohmand Agency on Sunday night, said senior security officials based in the region.
Pakistan’s military said 10 militants were killed in the ensuing exchange of fire and asked Afghan authorities to strengthen surveillance in border areas.
“Terrorists are common threat and must be denied freedom of movement/action along the border,” the Pakistani army’s press wing said in a statement.
The Afghan government had no immediate response to the Pakistani statements.A Taliban faction claimed responsibility for the raid, saying it was part of a campaign launched last month to target “enemies of Islam” across Pakistan.
Asad Mansoor, a spokesman for Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, a splinter faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility in a telephone call to Reuters.
Only five of its fighters were wounded and none were killed in the attack, the Taliban faction said, however.
Pakistan summoned the deputy head of the Afghan embassy in Islamabad to protest against the raid, the Foreign Office said on Monday, urging Afghanistan to crack down on militants operating on its side of the border.
Pakistan has blamed a series of attacks last month that killed more than 130 people on Pakistani militants taking shelter across the border in Afghanistan.
In response, Islamabad shut down border crossings and asked Kabul to hand over wanted terrorists believed to be hiding on the Afghan side.
The Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan – a grouping separate from, but allied with, the Afghan Taliban – has been fighting for years to overthrow Pakistan’s democratically elected government and impose strict Islamic law on the nation of 190 million.