2 Pakistan soldiers, 5 insurgents killed in shootout on border with Afghanistan

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A group of Pakistani Taliban ambushed troops during an operation against insurgents on the border with Afghanistan on Monday, triggering a shootout that killed an army major, a junior officer and five militants, the military and a militant spokesman said.

The shootout happened in the district Zhob in Baluchistan province, the military said in a statement.

Pakistani Taliban in a statement claimed responsibility for attacking the troops.

The Pakistani Taliban are known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, and are a separate group but allied with the Afghan Taliban, who in August 2021 seized Afghanistan as US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has emboldened the Pakistani Taliban, who have stepped up attacks against police and troops across the country, including Baluchistan.

TTP also enjoy backing from local separatist groups who have also waged a low-level insurgency for more than two decades.

Baluchi nationalists initially wanted a bigger share of the provincial resources, but later their insurgency morphed into a fight for independence from the government in Islamabad.

Though Pakistani authorities say they have quelled the insurgency, the violence has continued.

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