Heavy fighting between Pakistani Taliban and army near Afghanistan

Gun battle reported between army and TTP in Bamboret Valley

Pakistani soldiers patrol along the border with Afghanistan border in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. AFP
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Pakistan's Tahrik-e-Taliban militants claimed to have captured two security checkpoints near the border with Afghanistan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday.

In a statement following heavy fighting, the Pakistani army described the attackers as a large group of terrorists.

The militants launched an early morning attack in the Janjareet Koh, Ustaoi and Usool areas of the Bamboret Valley, police officers stationed there told The National.

Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan said the militants seized two checkpoints in Janjareet Koh.

“We have captured the check posts, took possession of weapons and other items, and also killed six soldiers,” TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani said.

Pakistan's security forces said its “valiant soldiers fought bravely and repulsed the attacks inflicting heavy casualties to the terrorists”. It added that four of its soldiers had been killed and that 12 Taliban fighters had been “sent to hell”.

The army also claimed that “the brave people of Chitral also stand firmly with the security forces in not allowing the terrorists to ruin the peace of the area”.

Northern Pakistan has seen a number of protests in recent months, involving locals decrying the worsening security situation.

“The attack occurred in the early morning darkness while Pakistani border forces and police were stationed there,” Zu Maira, a policewoman posted in Bamboret, told The National.

“However, army reinforcements have reached the border area, and an ongoing exchange of gunfire is reported.”

Roads in the valley were reported to have been closed off.

The Bamboret Valley, a popular tourist destination located 30km from Chitral, the main town in the district of the same name, had enjoyed relative peace compared to other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Militant attacks in the province have become more frequent since the TTP ended its truce with the government in November last year.

Moazzam Jah Ansari, former chief of the provincial police, said last year that the attacks were becoming more deadly because the militants had acquired sophisticated weaponry left behind by US forces withdrawing from Afghanistan.

Updated: September 07, 2023, 4:14 AM