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Militant attacks from Afghanistan repulsed in Mohmand, Bajaur

PESHAWAR: Security forces personnel on Friday repulsed two attacks on security checkposts in Mohmand and Bajaur agencies by suspected militants from across the Pak-Afghan border, security sources said.

The militants opened fire on a security checkpost in the Sheikh Baba area of Mohmand and on the Nawa Pass security post in Bajaur agency, sources said.

Security forces repulsed both attacks by retaliating quickly. No casualties were reported on either side of the border.

The claims could not be independently verified as journalists do not have access to most parts of the restive agencies.

The Jamaatul Ahrar militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Pakistan has long accused Afghanistan of sheltering militants who conduct attacks inside its territory, a charge Afghanistan denies.

Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, in a meeting with senior US officials at GHQ in June this year, raised the demand of targeting Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants and their chief Mullah Fazlullah in their hideouts in Afghanistan.

Mohmand and Bajaur are among Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts near the Afghan border, rife with homegrown insurgents and foreign militants.

Despite heavy military presence on both sides of the border, cross-border movements of militants (in both ways) have been a major area of concern.

Local militants have fled ongoing military offensives since 2008, taking refuge across the border and attacking Pakistani military checkpoints and civilians from there.

The army launched Operation Zarb-i-Azb in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases in the tribal areas and so bring an end to the bloody insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004.

As a result, security in the country has since improved. Scattered attacks still take place, but they are fewer and of a lesser intensity than in previous years.

According to data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal, 457 civilians and 182 members of the security forces were killed in Pakistan from January 1 to September 11, putting 2016 on course for fewer casualties than 2015.

Last year, the country recorded its lowest number of killings since 2007.

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