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Taliban say 8 killed in Pakistani strikes on Afghanistan

The Taliban government says Pakistani airstrikes hit civilian homes, two days after insurgents killed seven Pakistani soldiers in a suicide bombing.

A Taliban government spokesperson said on Monday that Pakistani airstrikes killed at least eight people, including three children, in border regions of Afghanistan.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, said Pakistani aircraft struck civilian homes in Khost and Paktika provinces near the border with Pakistan at around 3:00 a.m. local time (2230 GMT). 

According to Mujahid, all eight people killed were women and children.

Mujahid condemned the airstrikes and warned that such “violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty” will bring “bad consequences” beyond its neighbor’s control.

This is the latest escalation as tensions between Islamabad and Kabul simmer.

Pak president promised retaliation

The airstrikes targeted multiple suspected hideouts of Pakistani Taliban inside Afghanistan, two Pakistan security officials told AP news agency. The Pakistani Taliban is a separate militant group but allied with the Afghan Taliban.

The early morning strikes came two days after a suicide bombing targeted a Pakistan army post near the Afghan border.

On Satrday, a suicide bomber had rammed a truck filled with explosives into a military checkpoint in northwest Pakistan, killing seven soldiers.

During the funeral of the soldiers, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari promised a strong response.

“The blood of our martyred soldiers will not go in vain,” Zardari said.

Saturday’s suicide attack was claimed by the Jaish-e-Fursan-e-Muhammad group, though security officials in Pakistan believe that the organization largely consists of members from the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP.

‘Pakistan shouldn’t blame Afghanistan’

Both neighbors have been sparring over recent militant activity in Pakistan. Islamabad claims these attacks originated in Afghan territory, a claim that Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban has denied.

“Pakistan shouldn’t blame Afghanistan for the lack of control, incompetence, and problems in its own territory,” Mujahid said in the Taliban statement.

A Pakistani official in the border regions said in light of recent developments, “announcements have been made in mosques to empty some areas in Kurram and North Waziristan as clashes between Pakistan and Afghanistan continue on and off at the border.”

Source: Dw

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