Pakistani Airstrikes in Afghanistan Kill at Least 8, Taliban Officials Say

Pakistan launched two airstrikes into Afghanistan on Monday morning that killed at least eight people, Afghan officials said, escalating simmering tensions between the two countries.

The pre-dawn strikes were carried out in the Paktika and Khost provinces in eastern Afghanistan around 3 a.m., Afghan officials said. Three children were among those killed, according to Taliban officials who condemned the strikes as a violation of Afghan territory.

The strikes came amid a surge of attacks by militants in Pakistan ever since the Taliban seized power in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistani officials have blamed the swell of attacks on militants harbored on Afghan soil and protected by the Taliban administration. Taliban officials have denied those claims.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban administration in Afghanistan, said in a statement on Xthat his country “has a long experience of freedom struggle against the superpowers of the world” and “does not allow anyone to invade its territory.”

“Such incidents can have very bad consequences which will be out of Pakistan’s control,” he added.

The Pakistani action came two days after militants attacked a military post in northwestern Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan. The airstrikes targeted hide-outs of the Pakistani Taliban, also known as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, according to a senior Pakistani security official who was not authorized to speak to the news media and requested anonymity. The Pakistani Army and Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The strikes put a spotlight on the violence that has roared back in Pakistan over the past few years, shattering a relatively calm period since the Pakistani military carried out a large-scale military operation in 2014 and forced militants across the border into Afghanistan.

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