Pakistan launches airstrikes inside Afghanistan

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The Pakistani sources claim targeting TTP hideouts in Afghanistan whereas Pakistani tribal belt. Journalists and Pro Taliban accounts claim five civilians including women and children lost their lives, a reports Mrityunjoy Kumar Jha

Afghanistan-Pakistan disputed border Durand Line is simmering and there have been reports of firing between the Pakistani army and the Taliban fighters. The Taliban fighters started shelling after fighter jets of Pakistan air force conducted coordinated airstrikes overnight on the suspected camps of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) inside Afghanistan on Friday night.

Quoting TTP sources, Afghan media said that these fighter jets carried out simultaneous airstrikes against TTP’s camps along Afghanistan-Pakistan border in Kunar, Paktika, Khost and along the Bajaur belt. Militant sources say there are casualties.

The Pakistani sources claim targeting TTP hideouts in Afghanistan whereas Pakistani tribal belt. Journalists and Pro Taliban accounts claim five civilians including women and children lost their lives.

This the first time that the Pakistani army has used airstrikes targeting militant hideouts inside Afghanistan.

Unconfirmed reports say that the Taliban forces started responding to Pakistani air strikes with heavy artillery shelling at Pakistani forces camps along the border. Current hotspots are Sultan in Kunar and Spera in Khost areas of Afghanistan.

“The Taliban are gathering reinforcements against Pakistani forces in Khost and Kunar and in some areas Taliban and TTP fighters are fighting shoulder to shoulder,” says one report.

The retaliation came after the militants of the banned terror group TTP that militants ambushed a Pakistani military convoy near the Pak-Afghan border area in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s North Waziristan district killing more than 7 Pakistani soldiers.

A statement from the military said the ambush took place on Thursday in North Waziristan, a district in the volatile northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The new Pakistani premier who is against any talks with the militant group TTP, has vowed that “make no mistake about it, we will hunt down those responsible”.

The fresh clashes came hours after a Pakistani military spokesperson said there were no talks in progress with the TTP. One of the TTP sympathisers’ social media accounts says that “the TTP is claiming of a midnight, cross-border attack at a Pakistani military camp in Bajaur. As per the TTP, they used snipers with night vision and grenade launchers”.

Since last week, the rift between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban has intensified yet again as the two sides engaged in fresh clashes along the Durand Line and it took a dangerous turn on Friday after the Afghanistan Taliban shot down a Pakistan Army helicopter near the Nimroz sector along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

A senior army officer was injured during the attack, and there was damage to the helicopter as well. According to media reports the Pakistani army demanded the handover of people responsible for the attack. But the Taliban rejected the request, signalling the deep animosity between the Taliban and Pakistan. It was being reported that the Taliban was preparing for a possible Pakistani attack in the coming days.

Though separate, the Afghan Taliban and the TTP are close allies and Pakistani Taliban leaders and fighters have over the years sought sanctuary across the border in Afghanistan. Pakistan hoped the Taliban’s seizure of Afghanistan would secure its western border. Now, it is accusing the Taliban of allowing militants to conduct cross-border attacks.

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