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Pakistani airstrikes target Taliban in Afghanistan, Taliban says 8 women and children killed

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Pakistani airstrikes focused a number of suspected hideouts of the Pakistani Taliban inside neighboring Afghanistan early on Monday, killing at the very least eight folks and drawing return hearth from the Afghan Taliban, officers stated.

The newest escalation is prone to additional enhance tensions between Islamabad and Kabul. The Pakistani strikes got here two days after insurgents killed seven troopers in a suicide bombing and coordinated assault in northwestern Pakistan.

The Afghan Taliban denounced the strikes as an aggression on Afghanistan’s territorial integrity, saying they killed a number of girls and kids. The protection ministry in Kabul stated Afghan forces in a while Monday “focused Pakistan’s army facilities alongside the border with heavy weapons,” with out offering particulars.

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The Pakistani strikes have been carried out in Khost and Paktika provinces bordering Pakistan, based on two Pakistani safety and intelligence officers. The officers offered no additional particulars and spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to talk to reporters.

Pakistan’s army didn’t instantly remark and it was not clear how deep inside Afghanistan the Pakistani jets flew. The airstrikes have been the primary since 2022, when Pakistan focused militant hideouts in Afghanistan, though Islamabad by no means formally confirmed these strikes.

Chief Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid stated in an announcement that Monday’s airstrikes killed three girls and three youngsters within the district of Barmal in Paktika province whereas two different girls have been killed in a strike in Khost province.

Afghanistan on a map

The Pakistani army carried out airstrikes focusing on Pakistani Taliban hideouts in Afghanistan. They have been the primary airstrikes since 2022, and an Afghan Taliban spokesperson stated there could be penalties. (Related Press)

“Such assaults are a violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty and there shall be dangerous penalties,” Mujahid stated.

The 2 Pakistani officers stated mortars fired by the Afghan Taliban wounded 4 folks and that some villagers within the northwestern Kurram district have been transferring to safer areas late Monday. Pakistani troops fired again, the officers stated.

On Saturday, seven Pakistani troopers have been killed when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden truck right into a army put up within the city of Mir Ali, a city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan. Troops responded and killed all six attackers in a shootout, the army stated.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari attended the troopers’ funerals and vowed to retaliate, saying “the blood of our martyred troopers is not going to go in useless.”

The Mir Ali assault was claimed by a newly fashioned militant group, Jaish-e-Fursan-e-Muhammad however Pakistani safety officers believed it is primarily made up of members of the Pakistani Taliban, the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, which frequently targets Pakistani troopers and police.

Muhammad Ali, an Islamabad primarily based safety professional, stated a military lieutenant colonel and a captain have been amongst these killed in Mir Ali and that Monday’s airstrikes have been an apparent retaliation, coming inside 24 hours of Zardari’s warning.

“Pakistan’s persistence for the Afghan interim authorities’s continued hospitality for terrorists conducting frequent assaults on Pakistan from inside Afghanistan has lastly run out,” Ali stated.

Individually, the Pakistani army stated safety forces carried out an operation Monday in North Waziristan close to the Afghan border, killing eight militants linked to Saturday’s assault, however made no point out of the airstrikes inside Afghanistan.

The Afghan Taliban seized energy in Afghanistan in 2021 because the U.S. and NATO troops have been within the closing phases of their pullout after 20 years of battle. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan emboldened the TTP, whose high leaders and fighters are hiding in Afghanistan.

The Afghan Taliban insist they don’t enable the Pakistani Taliban — or another militant group — to make use of Afghanistan’s soil to launch assaults. Nevertheless, the TTP has stepped up assaults inside Pakistan in recent times, straining relations between Kabul and Islamabad.

Including to the tensions between the 2 international locations was a transfer by Islamabad final yr to expel Afghans dwelling in Pakistan with out legitimate paperwork. Pakistan has lengthy hosted about 1.7 million Afghans, most of whom fled through the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation of their nation. Greater than half 1,000,000 fled Afghanistan when the Taliban seized energy.

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To date, Pakistan has expelled almost half 1,000,000 Afghans within the ongoing crackdown. Islamabad says Afghans who’ve refugee standing haven’t been deported.

The deportations have additionally drawn criticism from the worldwide neighborhood and analysts have warned that mass deportations threat radicalizing those that have been compelled out of Pakistan — typically returning to deplorable circumstances again in Afghanistan.

In January, Pakistani strikes — in a tit-for-tat alternate with Tehran — hit Pakistani militants inside Iran, briefly elevating tensions between the 2 neighbors. The state of affairs calmed after Tehran and Islamabad agreed to cooperate in opposition to one another’s militants.

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