QUETTA, Pakistan — Four Pakistani soldiers and a dozen Taliban militants were killed on Sunday in separate incidents in the violence-wracked country, according to officials.
An anti-Taliban fighter also died in a day of clashes and bomb blasts in the country.
The first incident took place in Salarzai town, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) northeast of Khar, the main city in Bajaur tribal district along the Afghan border when a remote-controlled bomb hit a shop.
The blast killed an anti-Taliban militiaman and wounded three others, an official said.
Among the injured were two other anti-Taliban fighters and a passer-by, senior government official Faaz Mohammad told AFP
“The bomb destroyed the shop and killed one anti-Taliban fighter,” the official said.
Bajaur is a part of Pakistan’s seven tribal districts which are rife with homegrown insurgents and are strongholds of Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives.
Pakistan has for years battled homegrown insurgents in the tribal belt. More than 3,000 soldiers have died but Pakistan has resisted US pressure to do more to eliminate havens used by insurgents.
The second incident took place when a landmine buried at a roadside hit a vehicle in the country’s southwest on Sunday, killing three soldiers, a security official said.
The attack occurred near Sui town, some 400 kilometres southwest of Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province.
“Troops were patrolling in the area. Three soldiers were killed and two were injured. It was a landmine blast,” a spokesman for paramilitary Frontier Corps told AFP.
The troubled Baluchistan province which neighbours both Afghanistan and Iran is gripped by a regional insurgency for self-determination. It is also a flashpoint for Taliban and sectarian violence.
In Sunday’s third incident, 12 Taliban militants and a soldier were killed in a clash in Landi Kotal town of Khyber tribal district on the Afghan border and nearest to the northwestern capital of Peshawar, security officials told AFP.
A local Taliban commander was among the dead, they said.
“The operation was carried out after an intelligence tip off. During the operation 12 Taliban militants were killed and one soldier embraced martyrdom,” a senior security official told AFP in Peshawar.
An intelligence official said troops surrounded a house during the operation and recovered three women and three children after three hours of exchange of fire.
“All those killed inside the house were local Taliban militants,” the official said.