PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Security forces killed two local Pakistani Taliban commanders in a gun battle Tuesday at a former militant base in the country’s northwest, the military said.
The militants were killed in North Waziristan, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, a statement said.
The Pakistani Taliban – also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP – is a separate group from the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan who occupied the country last August, albeit two allies.
The Taliban’s occupation of Afghanistan has prompted the Pakistani Taliban to step up attacks on Pakistani forces, raising fears that insurgents are regrouping in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Pakistan has said that thousands of TTP militants are hiding in Afghanistan and often carry out attacks targeting Pakistani forces from there – despite assurances from the Taliban that they will not allow their territory to be used for attacks on neighboring countries.
Also on Tuesday, police said they had arrested two militants in connection with a January 20 bombing at Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore that killed three and injured 33 others. A statement from the Counterterrorism Department said the suspects had confessed to their role in the bombing. It was not immediately clear if the suspects were members of a separatist Balochistan Liberation Army group that claimed responsibility for the attack.