Soldier, Militant Dead in Pakistan After Shootout

A soldier and a militant were killed near the border with Afghanistan, the Pakistani military said Sunday, when a group of militants attempted to sneak into the country’s northwest, triggering a shootout.

The clash erupted in the Sambaza area of Zhob overnight, according to a military statement. Two other soldiers were injured in the exchange of gunfire. It said the area had already been under surveillance for days after intelligence reports that militants were using the route to sneak into Pakistan to target civilians and security forces.

The Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, ended a cease fire last month and have attacked Pakistani security forces over the last month.

The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but allies with the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan a year ago as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout. The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has emboldened the Pakistani Taliban.

In a separate incident in Pakistan’s southwest, a roadside bomb killed an army captain and four other soldiers Sunday. A military statement said the explosion targeted troops engaged in an anti-militant operation in the Kohlu district of Baluchistan province.

Police in Baluchistan also said Sunday that three grenade attacks injured 14 people in separate incidents. Two grenade attacks injured 11 people in the provincial capital of Quetta, while a third attack in the industrial town of Hub wounded three civilians, senior police officer Zafar Maheser said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. Baluch separatist groups have long waged a low-level insurgency in the region.

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