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Seven Pakistani soldiers killed in car bombing in northwest region

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A devastating car bombing attack on Sunday, June 9, 2024, claimed the lives of seven Pakistani soldiers in the northwest region of the country. The incident occurred in the Lakki Marwat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a notorious hotbed of Islamic militant groups, including the Pakistani Taliban and the local chapter of the Islamic State.

According to the military, the soldiers were traveling in a vehicle when it was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED). The blast completely destroyed the vehicle, and reports suggest that the soldiers also came under fire after the explosion.

A senior police officer stationed in Lakki Marwat, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the incident and noted that the district is one of the most affected by terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The officer also expressed concerns about the increasing number of attacks in the region.

The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is the most active militant group in the area and has been responsible for numerous attacks on security forces. Although no group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack, the TTP is suspected to be involved.

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The incident is the latest in a surge of attacks in Pakistan since the Taliban returned to power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021. Last year, Pakistan recorded 29 suicide attacks, the highest number since 2014, resulting in 329 deaths. The attacks have been blamed on militant groups sheltering in Afghanistan, which the Taliban government has denied.

The Pakistani government has accused the Taliban of failing to root out militants sheltering on Afghan soil, who are preparing to stage attacks on Pakistan. However, the Taliban government has repeatedly denied these allegations, stating that they will not allow Afghan territory to host foreign militants.

Analysts believe that the TTP shares a common lineage and ideology with the Afghan Taliban, which has raised concerns about the potential for increased violence in the region. In January 2023, the TTP was linked to a mosque suicide bombing in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which killed over 80 police officers. In September, Pakistan reported that four troops were killed during a cross-border raid by hundreds of TTP fighters in Chitral, a popular tourist destination.

The attack on Sunday highlights the ongoing security challenges faced by Pakistan and the need for effective counter-terrorism measures to combat the growing threat of militant groups in the region.

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