Ten killed as violence surges in Pakistan

Ten people have been reported dead across Pakistan after a day of violence that included two gunfights with Taliban militants and a roadside bomb that went off as religious student activists left a meeting at a college.

The latest deaths on Friday come amid a surge in violence in the country.

Four Pakistani troops died during an overnight raid on a Taliban hideout in the region of North Waziristan, on the Afghan border, a statement by the army said.

However, a Taliban statement put the number of officers who died in the gunfight at seven. There was no way to verify the figure independently.

North Waziristan has served as the headquarters for al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network group of the Afghan Taliban and the home-grown Pakistani militants. However, those groups were chased across the border into Afghanistan in 2014 in a series of military offensives.

Officials in Islamabad say Pakistani Taliban members have stepped up attacks from bases in Afghanistan ever since Kabul fell to members of the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistani Taliban follow the same hardline Sunni Islam theology as their Afghan counterparts, but have a separate organisational setup. They have killed around 80,000 Pakistanis in decades of violence.

Meanwhile, in a separate raid in the northwest, Pakistani soldiers killed two militants, the statement added.

Also overnight, a roadside bomb laid near a college left four dead when it detonated as people departed a meeting of a religious party’s student wing in the south-western city of Quetta, regional security adviser Zia Langov said.

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest but most volatile province. It borders Afghanistan and Iran.

No group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack, but both the Pakistani Taliban and the extremist Islamic State have been targeting rival religious groups and clerics.

Most of the violence is seen as reaction to Beijing’s investment plans to link China’s Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea in Balochistan through a network of roads and rail tracks.

The proposed $US60 billion ($A82 billion) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor plan is meant to give Beijing access to markets in the Middle East, Europe and Africa through the shortest overland and sea route.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.