An update:Pakistan’s government has said it has launched a major military operation to drive Taliban insurgents from their positions in the country’s eastern provinces.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said the operation is part of an international strategy to fight the “heinous aggression” of the Afghan Taliban.
The government said it had launched an offensive in North Waziristan, the eastern province where most of the Taliban have been holed up since 2009.
The government has yet to say when the offensive will start.
The war has left tens of thousands dead, and killed thousands more since it began in 2001.
The United States has not officially commented on the operation but US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said it is “a clear escalation of US engagement with Pakistan.”
The Pakistani military said it was conducting a military operation in the tribal areas of North Waza and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces in response to the attacks, according to a statement carried by the state-run Geo News.
Pakistan has been at war with the Taliban since the country fell to the insurgents in 2001 and the United States and its allies have backed Islamabad’s military campaign against the insurgents.
The Taliban have since carried out multiple attacks on Pakistani military and civilian targets, including a suicide attack on the presidential palace in Islamabad in February that killed more than 60 people.