Six Pakistani soldiers were killed in an “intense exchange of fire” with militants on Thursday in Pakistan’s restive north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordering Afghanistan, the army said. In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of Pakistan military said the shootout took place in the Dir Duni area of North Waziristan district.
Six soldiers were killed during the “intense exchange of fire” which left three terrorists dead, the statement said.
“Sanitisation of the area is being carried out to eliminate any terrorists found in the area. [The] security forces of Pakistan are determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers further strengthen our resolve,” the ISPR said.
The attack comes amid a surge in terrorist activities across the country since the banned militant group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ended its ceasefire with the government in November.
The TTP, which is believed to have close links to al-Qaeda, has in the past also threatened to target Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari if the ruling coalition continued to implement strict measures against the militants.
The TTP, also known as the Pakistan Taliban, was set up as an umbrella group of several militant outfits in 2007. Its main aim is to impose its strict brand of Islam across Pakistan.
The group has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.