Bomb Kills 2 Pakistani Troops, Injures 2 Others

Pakistan’s military said Wednesday that two of its soldiers were killed and two others wounded when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in a remote volatile region next to the Afghan border.The troops were conducting routine patrolling near Miranshah, the administrative center of North Waziristan district, said the army’s media wing.Until a few years back, the district was a hub of local and foreign militant groups blamed for terrorist attacks in Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan.Military officials, however, say sustained countermilitancy operations have dismantled the “terrorism infrastructures,” killing thousands of militants and pushing others into Afghan border provinces.Officials attribute an improved national security situation in Pakistan to military gains in and around the Waziristan district.However, the volatile border region has seen an uptick in militant attacks in recent weeks, in which dozens of troops have been killed or injured.AssassinationsSeveral civilian government officials also have been assassinated in recent days, raising concerns the militants are trying to return to their former stronghold.The Pakistani military says “intelligence-based” targeted raids are still being conducted against remaining “pockets” and “sleeper cells” in the district while avoiding collateral damage.Several years of sustained military operations displaced millions of people in North Waziristan. Most of them have since returned and resettled in their villages while reconstruction work is under way.The Pakistani military is also unilaterally constructing a robust fence to secure the traditionally open border with Afghanistan. Officials say almost 70% of the nearly 2,600-kilometer frontier has been fenced and the rest is expected to be completed by early next year.

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