Islamabad, Pakistan. In breaking news a running gun battle between Pakistani special forces and suspected Taliban forces has left a number of people dead in ongoing violence between the two groups.
At least nine suspected Pakistani Taliban fighters and three soldiers have been killed after a shootout following a joint military and police raid in the central district of Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan’s military spokesperson announced today.
Pakistan’s Army had two soldiers who were also wounded in the clash, which targeted a suspected Taliban hideout in the Basti Dadwani area of Dera Ghazi Khan, about 490km south of the capital Islamabad, the military said in a statement.
Pakistan Ranger units from special operations force were carrying out a search operation in the area to arrest other suspects. Friday’s raid came as part of the military’s Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad (Elimination of Chaos), launched in the wake of a string of suicide bombings and attacks that killed at least 130 people across Pakistan in February.
The Pakistani military has launched a series of military operations since 2007 targeting the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its allies, mostly in the country’s tribal areas. The last operation, Zarb-e-Azb, was launched in 2014, and targeted TTP bases in their northwestern stronghold of North Waziristan.
Over the past two years the operation has expanded from North Waziristan to include military raids in towns and urban centres across the country. Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, Pakistan’s military says, aims to continue to consolidate gains made during Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
In the past year, Pakistan’s military said it has killed at least 3,500 fighters belonging to the TTP and other armed groups. In the process, at least 583 soldiers were killed, the Pakistani military announced.