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Pakistani Military Says 10 Soldiers Killed In Attacks By Extremists

FILE: A Pakistan soldier stands guard along the border fence outside outpost on the border with Afghanistan in North Waziristan.
FILE: A Pakistan soldier stands guard along the border fence outside outpost on the border with Afghanistan in North Waziristan.

Pakistan’s military says at least 10 soldiers have been killed in separate attacks by militants in North Waziristan and Balochistan.

In the first attack, the army on July 27 said six soldiers were slain when extremists from across the Afghan border opened fire on a patrol in the tribal district of North Waziristan.

Pakistan’s Taliban, the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack, as it has for previous assaults in the region.

North Waziristan has long been a sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups.

Islamic militants had a substantial number of sanctuaries in North Waziristan until a 2014 Pakistani Army offensive, after which most militants escaped to Afghanistan.

Pakistan in March 2017 began fencing off its 2,600-kilometer border with Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants and prevent cross-border operations. The military earlier this year said work on a 900-kilometer portion of the barrier had been completed.

The region has been the scene of deadly Pakistani army operations, U.S. drone attacks, and militant attacks.

Separately, the military's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in statement that three soldiers and an officer from the paramilitary Frontier Corps near Turbat in southwestern Balochistan were killed by terrorists.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Balochistan is Pakistan's largest province, bordering both Afghanistan and Iran. It has experienced a recent increase in violence by extremists and ethnic Baloch rebels fighting for independence.

The United States has criticized Pakistan for allowing what it calls safe havens for militants in the region, which provides them with a base to conduct attacks across the border in Afghanistan.

Islamabad denies the allegations and has pointed to the losses its security forces have suffered in the battle against the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and other terror groups.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on July 27 expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the most recent attacks.

"I salute our armed forces personnel who continue to lay down their lives fighting terrorists to keep the nation safe," he wrote on Twitter.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal, AP, AFP, Reuters, and dpa

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