The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack in northwest Pakistan that left two soldiers and two militants dead.
The army said in a statement that militants opened fire on a security checkpoint Saturday evening in the Jani Khel area of Bannu district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, leading to a shootout with Pakistani troops. A search operation was underway to track the militants behind the attack.
Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khorasani said in a statement on the group’s website that the group carried out the “joint attack” in collaboration with another faction of the Pakistani Taliban, the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group. The militant group has been distancing itself from the Taliban, also known as TTP, and carrying out attacks independently.
The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but are allied with the Afghanistan Taliban, who took over Afghanistan in August 2021, following the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from the country.
The takeover emboldened the TTP. They unilaterally ended a cease-fire agreement with the Pakistani government in November and have since stepped up their attacks in the country.