PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Security forces killed two local Pakistani Taliban commanders in a shootout Tuesday in a former militant stronghold in the country’s northwest, the military said.
In a statement, it said the militants were killed in North Waziristan, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan.
The Pakistani Taliban — also known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP — are a separate group from the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan who took over that country last August, though the two are allies.
The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan emboldened the Pakistani Taliban to step up attacks on Pakistani forces, raising fears that the insurgents are regrouping in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Pakistan also says that thousands of TTP militants have been hiding in Afghanistan and often stage attacks from there, targeting Pakistani troops — despite assurances from the Taliban that they will not allow territory under their control to be used for attacks on neighboring countries.
Also on Tuesday, police said they arrested two militants over their alleged involvement in a Jan. 20 bombing that killed three people and wounded 33 others at the Anarkali bazaar in the city of Lahore. According to a statement released by the counter-terrorism department, the suspects confessed to their role in the bombing. It did not say whether the suspects were members of a separatist Baluchistan Liberation Army group, which had claimed responsibility for the attack at the time.