Pakistan launches military crackdown on terrorism after spate of attacks

By REUTERS
February 18, 2017 07:33
1 minute read.

The Pakistani army has launched a nationwide crackdown on terrorism after a spate of recent attacks including a suicide bombing in the southern Sindh province, which killed at least 80 people and wounded more than 200 others late Thursday.

According to the military, Pakistani security forces killed and arrested dozens of militants on Friday.

Security forces in Sindh said they killed 18 terrorists in overnight operations in the province following the bombing at the centuries-old Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Shrine in the town of Sehwan.

Meanwhile, in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, police said they killed 11 extremists.

The blast at the popular shrine, which took place at around 19:00 Thursday, was one of the deadliest in Pakistan in years and came after at least seven extremist attacks this week, some of which were in the cities of Peshawar, Lahore and Quetta.

Some of the attacks have been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, while others by the Islamic State group.

In response to the fresh waves of terrorist attacks, the Pakistani government and military have vowed strong measures against militants in the country.

The recent attacks also threaten to drive a deeper wedge between Pakistan and Afghanistan. After the attack at the shrine, Islamabad quickly lashed out at Kabul, saying the bombing was masterminded from across the border, in militant sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

Pakistani authorities sealed the Torkham and Chamman border crossings with Afghanistan for an indefinite period late Thursday.

Also on Thursday, the Pakistani army summoned Afghan diplomats to its headquarters in the city of Rawalpindi and gave them a list of 76 militants whom Pakistani officials claim are hiding in Afghanistan, urging Afghanistan authorities to hand over the militants as soon as possible.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have long accused each other of giving shelter to militants that roam across their border.


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