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Roadside bombing targeting security convoy kills 7 soldiers in northwest Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A roadside bomb exploded near a security convoy in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, killing seven soldiers, including an army captain, the military said, a sign of a surge in militant attacks on security forces.

The latest attack happened in Lakki Marwat, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, the military said.

No one claimed responsibility, but suspicion is likely to fall on the Pakistani Taliban, who have a strong presence in the region. The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, is a separate group that has been emboldened since the Afghan Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in 2021.

Pakistan has witnessed a surge in militant attacks in recent years, predominantly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In January 2023 militants killed at least 101 people, mostly police officers, when a suicide bomber disguised as a policeman attacked a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

On Sunday, the counter-terrorism department (CTD) of police in Peshawar issued a report, saying 65 police officials were killed while another 86 were wounded in 237 incidents of terrorism in the province in the past five months.

It said police have killed 117 militants and arrested 299 others in a series of operations.

Most of the attacks on security forces have been claimed by Islamic militants this year.

Pakistani authorities often say Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers are giving shelter to TTP fighters across the unruly border. The Afghan Taliban government insists it doesn’t allow anyone to use Afghan soil for violence in any country.

TTP has also said it was not using Afghan soil for targeting troops in Pakistan.