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Pakistan soldier killed in militant attack in troubled northwest

A Pakistani army soldiers stand guard at a check point in North Waziristan [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 27 May, 2019

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No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack on a Pakistani army post in North Waziristan, which led to the death of one soldier.

Militants attacked an army post in a troubled northwest region of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan where ethnic tensions have recently flared up with minority Pashtuns, the Pakistani military said Monday.

The attack late Sunday on the Makki Garh security post in North Waziristan triggered a shootout that killed a soldier.

It remained unclear who was behind the attack. Five soldiers were also wounded in the clashes.

Just hours earlier, authorities said a minority Pashtun group led by two lawmakers attacked another army post in the same region, setting off a shootout that killed three activists.

According to the army, lawmakers Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar were seeking to pressure authorities to release terror suspects arrested recently in North Waziristan.

Wazir and Dawar represent a Pashtun rights group that has denounced what it says is the military's excessive use of force against tribesmen in the region. Wazir and eight others were arrested in the Khar Kamar incident.

Dawar said they attacked no one and claimed their convoy was targeted by the security forces while traveling to a planned protest rally in the area.

The military later said troops found five bullet-riddled bodies about a mile away from the Khar Kamar post, but it was unclear who the victims were and who killed them.

North Waziristan was a longtime stronghold for the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other militant groups. 

Pakistan claims to have driven out the area's militants in a series of military operations in recent years, but the region still sees occasional attacks.

Elsewhere, security officials arrested three suspected militants in two raids in eastern Punjab province, foiling possible attacks, the province's counter-terrorism department said Sunday.

In the first raid, in the district of Dera Ghazi Khan, a man was arrested for suspected links to the Islamic State group, the agency said. Grenades and "funds for terrorism financing" were seized during the operation.

In the second raid, two members of the outlawed Sunni Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group were arrested for planning to target minority Shias.

Last week, Punjab police as part of an ongoing crackdown on terror groups arrested six people for collecting funds for outlawed militant groups in the province.

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