Pakistan Says Militant Attack in Northwest Kills Soldier

Militants armed with assault rifles attacked a Pakistani army security post in a former Taliban stronghold in the country’s northwest early on Monday, triggering a shootout that killed a soldier, the military said. Five insurgents were also killed, it said.

The military says the attack took place near the town of Miran Shah, the main urban center in the North Waziristan district that borders Afghanistan. Three troops were also wounded in the shootout.

North Waziristan was a militant base until recent years when the Pakistani military said its successive operations there had cleared the area of the Taliban. However, violence has increased there in recent weeks, spreading fear among residents that the military might carry out more operations.

“Troops effectively engaged the terrorists,” a military statement said, adding that troops subsequently launched a search operation in the area.

The Pakistani army in recent weeks deployed thousand of troops across the country to help the government enforce a lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. But, it was unclear whether troops engaged in that mission were relocated from the northwestern region along the Afghan border.

Pakistan on Monday said 17 more had died from the virus over the past 24 hours. The country has so far recorded 8,418 cases while 1,970 people have recovered. The government hasn’t said whether any of the troops enforcing the lockdown have been infected with the virus.