ISLAMABAD: At least six Pakistani security personnel have died in assaults by militants this week, just days after a United Nations report said there were more than 6,000 Pakistani insurgents hiding in Afghanistan, mostly belonging to the outlawed Pakistani Taliban group responsible for attacking Pakistani military and civilian targets.
The report released last week also said the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) had linked up with the Afghan-based affiliate of the Daesh group. Some of TTP’s members have even joined the Daesh affiliate, which has its headquarters in eastern Afghanistan.
In a latest attack, Pakistan’s military said militants had killed a soldier in a cross-border attack on a security post on Wednesday in Bajaur, a former tribal region in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan.
A day earlier, Pakistan said five anti-terrorism commandos were killed in a raid on a suspected militant hideout in Chilas district. TTP militants have carried out attacks in the area in the past.
Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yousafzai, who has written extensively on Afghanistan and the Taliban, told Arab News cross-border attacks had increased in recent days and were mostly being carried out by the TTP whose fighters were based in Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan, such as Nangarhar, Kunar, Nuristan, Paktia, Paktika and Khost.
“In most of the attacks, militants target Pakistan border security posts especially when soldiers and civilians are carrying out fencing work on the border and they become easy target of snipers or planted IEDs,” Yousafzai said. “Pakistan occasionally reacts with artillery shelling into Afghan territory which sometimes causes Afghan casualties.”
He said the UN recent report had vindicated Pakistan’s stance that TTP and other anti-Pakistan militants had found “sanctuaries in Afghanistan and were using its soil to destabilize Pakistan.”
Afghanistan has not yet commented on the UN report. It has repeatedly denied official complicity in attacks in Pakistan launched from inside its borders.
International relations expert and professor, Rasul Bakhsh Rais, said Islamabad had been complaining for years about the presence of anti-Pakistan militant sanctuaries in Afghanistan.
“Proxy wars like this provoke more proxy wars,” he said. “Afghanistan … by acting as a sanctuary for militants, would invite more trouble for itself.”