Two soldiers and one militant were killed in a shootout during an overnight military operation against militants in north-west Pakistan, close to the Afghan border.
A military statement late on Friday said security forces initiated an operation in Miran Shah, the main town of North Waziristan, “to eliminate remaining terrorists” after receiving intelligence reports about the presence of militants.
As troops closed in on the location, a group of militants were spotted and intercepted, triggering an intensive shootout. The army major leading the operation and another soldier died. One militant was killed and another injured.
Another soldier and a militant were killed early on Friday during a separate raid on a militant hideout in Tirah Valley, in the Khyber district, along the Afghan border, the army said.
There have been an increase in militant attacks on security forces in the north-west in recent days.
On Thursday a suicide bomber targeted a security convoy, killing nine soldiers and wounding 20 others. The attack happened in Bannu, a district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Bannu is the gateway to North Waziristan, which for decades was a safe haven for militants until the military carried out a major operation against them following an attack on an army-run school in Peshawar in 2014. The attack killed more than 150, mostly schoolchildren.
After the years-long operation, the army announced it had cleared the region of local and foreign militants. Occasional attacks have continued, however, raising concerns that the local Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, have found sanctuaries in Afghanistan and are regrouping in the area.
The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but allies of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan in 2021 as the US and Nato troops were in the final stages of their pullout.
In 2022, they ended a ceasefire with the government in Islamabad and ordered fighters to resume attacks across the country.
Pakistan has repeatedly asked the interim Afghan government to act against “individuals and entities that threaten Pakistan” and live up to its commitments to the international community.