BFF-18 Three Pakistani troops dead in militant shootout on the Afghan border

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BFF-18

PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN

Three Pakistani troops dead in militant shootout on the Afghan border

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, June 15, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Three Pakistani soldiers were killed on Friday when militants launched an attack on army posts along the border with Afghanistan from across the frontier, military officials said.

The shootout, which also left five insurgents dead, occurred in the Shawal area of North Waziristan tribal district, part of a semi-autonomous region where the army has been battling Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants for years.

A statement from the Pakistan army said “multiple” assaults were launched on bases along the border.

“Security forces valiantly repulsed all attempts to overrun posts and inflict major damage,” the statement said.

North Waziristan is part of Pakistan’s tribal belt — a block of seven districts along the country’s northwest border with Afghanistan which are home to an estimated five million people, mainly ethnic Pashtuns.

Military operations to flush militants from the tribal districts, have pushed the insurgents across the border.

Pakistan is building a fence along its 2400-kilometre (1490-mile) border with Afghanistan, which it hopes will fortify the frontier.

It believes militant attacks are meant to halt construction work on the fence.

The US has repeatedly accused Pakistan of allowing the tribal areas to harbour militants fighting in Afghanistan — an allegation Islamabad has consistently denied.

The latest attack came hours after reports that a US drone strike had killed the Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah, who had established sanctuaries in Afghan areas.

BSS/AFP/MRU/2316hrs