Pakistan military media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), confirmed that two children were killed during an operation against suspected “militants” on the border of North and South Waziristan districts, Dawn reported.
According to ISPR, two children died during the operation, in which officials alleged that eight people, whom the media wing called “militants” also left two soldiers wounded. “Upon information about the presence of militants in the Zinghara area of South Waziristan, security forces carried out an operation,” said the statement.
Earlier, unconfirmed media reports claimed that the children were killed in a drone strike but in the ISPR statement, there was no mention of a “drone strike,” reported Dawn.
It confirmed that an intense exchange of fire took place between security forces and militants in which mortar shells were also fired.
“Unfortunately, two children embraced martyrdom during the exchange of fire,” the statement read.
Local officials said the offensive was launched following a tip-off about the presence of militants late on Wednesday night.
This is the second offensive in less than a week in North and South Waziristan districts reported Dawn.
Earlier, on March 10, at least five suspected militants were killed by security forces in an intelligence-based operation carried out in the two districts.
Weapons and ammunition were also recovered from the militants’ possession.
Meanwhile, on January 5, at least 11 alleged terrorists, including a militant commander and two suicide bombers, were killed in an offensive in the Wana area of South Waziristan.
According to the security forces, the deceased terrorists were planning a “high-profile” attack which was “successfully foiled,” as per the Dawn report.
Taking note of the rise in criminal cases and the attack on police in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region, a US State Department report, earlier, had warned that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was aiming to push the government of Pakistan out of the province and establish Sharia by waging a terrorist campaign against the military and state, Dawn reported.
According to the 2021 Country Reports on Terrorism, the TTP uses the tribal belt along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to train and deploy its operatives.
According to a US State Department report, TTP draws ideological guidance from Al Qaeda, while elements of AQ rely in part on TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
“This arrangement has given TTP access to both AQ’s global terrorist network and its members’ operational expertise,” the report stated.
Further, according to the report, Pakistan “experienced significant terrorist activity” during the year in review — 2021.
Underlining the link between terrorism and lack of economic activities, the report pointed out that “the United States provides assistance to support trade and economic growth” in Pakistan, Dawn reported.