At least 23 soldiers killed in terror attack in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province: Army

An emergency was declared in district hospitals while all schools and colleges were closed due to the attack

Updated - December 12, 2023 09:14 pm IST

Published - December 12, 2023 01:04 pm IST - Peshawar

Security officials examine damages on the site of a bombing at a police station on the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, on December 12, 2023.

Security officials examine damages on the site of a bombing at a police station on the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, on December 12, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

At least 23 Pakistani soldiers were killed on Tuesday when militants linked to a Pakistani Taliban affiliate rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a security forces' post in restive Khyber-Paktunkhwa province, the Army said, in one of the worst terror attacks targeting security forces in recent years.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the Army, six terrorists attacked the security post in Dera Ismail Khan’s Daraban area bordering the South Waziristan tribal district in the early morning hours.

"The attempt to enter the post was effectively thwarted which forced the terrorists to ram an explosive laden vehicle into the post, followed by a suicide bombing attack.

"The resulting blasts led to the collapse of the building, causing multiple casualties," it said.

Twenty-three Pakistan Army soldiers were killed while all six terrorists were "effectively engaged and sent to hell," the ISPR said.

It added that sanitisation operations were being conducted to eliminate any other terrorist present in the area. "Security forces of Pakistan are determined to wipe out the menace of terrorism from the country and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers further strengthens our resolve,” the ISPR said.

An emergency was declared in district hospitals while all schools and colleges were closed due to the attack.

The Tehrik-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP), a newly formed militant group that is an affiliate of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack.

TJP spokesperson Mullah Qasim termed the attack a "suicide mission" (Fidayein).

Separately, 17 terrorists were killed in an intelligence-based operation in the Darazinda area of Dera Ismail Khan, the army said.

"During the conduct of operation, terrorists’ hideout was busted and 17 terrorists were sent to hell,” the military’s media affairs wing said.

'The ISPR further stated that two soldiers were killed while four more terrorists were neutralised in another IBO in the Kulachi area.

“️The killed terrorists were actively involved in numerous terrorist activities against security forces as well as killing of innocent civilians. Weapons, ammunition and explosives were also recovered during the operation," the statement said.

The TJP terror outfit has been behind some major attacks in Pakistan.

On November 4, the TJP militants attacked the Pakistan Air Force's Mianwali Training Air Base, some 300 km from Lahore, damaging three grounded aircraft. All the attackers were killed in the army operation, which came a day after 17 soldiers were killed in three separate terror strikes in the country.

In July this year, the TJP militants attacked Zhob Garrison in the restive Balochistan province, killing four soldiers and wounding five others.

Pakistan has been facing a rise in violence in the wake of the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

Throughout this year, terrorists and separatists have been targeting security forces in Pakistan.

The terrorists have repeatedly attacked the security and military installations in Pakistan.

In September 2015, Taliban gunmen killed 29 people, including 16 praying in a mosque, when they stormed Badaber air base, close to the northwestern city of Peshawar. It was the deadliest Taliban attack on a military installation in Pakistan’s history. Among those killed were 22 serving officials of the Pakistan Air Force, four civilians and three army soldiers responding to the attack. The 13 gunmen were also killed in the attack.

In May 2011, 15 terrorists belonging to TTP and Al Qaeda attacked PNS Mehran, the headquarters of the Pakistan Navy's Naval Air Arm, located in Sindh and killed 18 military personnel and wounded 16. Two American-built surveillance aircraft were also destroyed.

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