–Six soldiers embrace martyrdom in N Waziristan after militants attack patrolling team from across Afghan border
–Four Frontier Corps men, including captain, martyred near Turbat during combing operation
–PM Imran and Gen Bajwa condemn attacks, reiterate resolve for regional peace
QUETTA/PESHAWAR: At least 10 security forces personnel were martyred in North Waziristan tribal district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan on Saturday after they came under separate attacks by unknown militants, said a statement by the army’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
In the first incident, six Pakistan Army soldiers were killed in a cross-border attack near Pakistani-Afghanistan border after a patrolling party came under fire by unknown assailants from across the border in Gurbaz, North Waziristan.
“Terrorists from across the border fire raided on Pakistan Army border patrolling party […] 6 soldiers embraced shahadat,” said a statement issued by the military’s media wing shortly after the attack.
The deceased include Havaldar Khalid, Sepoy Naveed, Sepoy Bachal, Sepoy Ali Raza, Sepoy Mohammad Babar and Sepoy Ahsan.
In restive Balochistan, a contingent of the Frontier Corps was attacked by unidentified militants during a combing/sensitisation operation between Hushab and Turbat, the ISPR said in another press release.
The troops martyred in Balochistan include Captain Aqib Javed, Sepoy Nadir, Sepoy Atif Altaf and Sepoy Hafeezullah.
This is not the first time that the security forces personnel have come under attack in Balochistan. The province – long been plagued by an insurgency and targetted killings – is reeling under a fresh wave of terrorism.
In May alone, the province faced at least five terror attacks, including an attack on non-native labourers working in Dera Murad Jamali.
The martyrdom of six soldiers on the Pak-Afghan border and of four in Balochistan “is the sacrifice Pakistan [is] making for peace in the region”, tweeted ISPR Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted.
He said while the security of the tribal areas has been improved with efforts now focused on solidifying the western border, inimical forces are attempting to destabilise Balochistan. “Their efforts shall [InshAllah] fail,” Gen Ghafoor said.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also issued a statement condemning the attack.
He said the armed force “shall ensure the defence and security of motherland at the cost of our sweat and blood”. He termed the attacks “dying efforts of frustrated inimical forces” as the country heads on to achieve “enduring peace” after attaining “stability”.
“It’s time for the world to facilitate regional peace,” said COAS Bajwa.
“I salute our armed forces personnel who continue to lay down their lives fighting terrorists to keep the nation safe,” said Prime Minister Imran Khan as he offered “condolences and prayers” for the families of the fallen soldiers in North Waziristan and Balochistan.
The attacks come days after the Pakistani civilian and military leaders discussed the regional security situation and Afghan peace with their American counterparts. “We have had 15 years of fighting this war on terror. Over 70,000 Pakistani casualties. Over $150 billion lost to the economy. So, we desperately want peace,” Prime Minister Imran had said.
“The US leadership acknowledged contributions of Pakistan Army in the war against terrorism and role towards Afghan peace process,” the ISPR said following the army chief’s meeting with his US counterparts at the Pentagon.