Seven Pakistani soldiers have been killed in an attack in the country’s restive North Waziristan tribal region.
A senior military official told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal that militants ambushed a military vehicle in Dattakhel area on April 14. Seven soldiers were killed in the exchange of fire, he added.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
The area is believed to be a stronghold of the Hafiz Gul Bahadar group of the banned Islamist group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban.
On April 13, two soldiers were killed in two separate attacks in the Shaam and Mirali Khadi areas of North Waziristan. The April 13 attacks were officially confirmed by the Pakistani military.
The fresh attack came hours after a Pakistani military spokesperson said there were no talks in progress with the TTP. Earlier, it was reported that a jirga assembly of influential tribal elders was negotiating with the TTP leadership hiding across the border in Afghanistan to agree on peace talks with the Pakistani authorities and an end to the violence.
As part of the ongoing negotiations, dozens of TTP prisoners have also been freed by the Pakistani authorities over the past two months. However, Major General Babar Iftikhar, a military spokesperson, told journalists on April 14 that there are no talks going on with the TTP.
Pakistani security forces have conducted numerous operations against the TTP and their affiliates in the tribal districts bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistan conducted a massive anti-Taliban operation in June 2014. Officials claimed that they successfully pushed the Taliban into Afghanistan from the tribal region.
However, locals say the TTP has staged a gradual comeback in the area by increasing their attacks.