Islamabad: A day after the Pakistan Army gunned down 33 pro-Taliban fighters in the lawless North Waziristan region, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif on Friday said security forces have the right to retaliate against attacks by foreign terrorists.
In a statement, Asif said terrorists had killed Pakistani soldiers in a cowardly attack on security forces in North Waziristan and it was the right of the forces to hit back against aggressors.
"We would not cede our right to defend," he said.
At least 33 militants, including some Uzbeks, have been killed in fierce clashes with the army in North Waziristan Agency since Wednesday night.
Troops launched an operation yesterday afternoon after receiving an intelligence report that terrorists were preparing vehicle-borne IEDs in a hideout at Mir Ali in North Waziristan Agency. During the operation, troops killed 10 terrorists, "most of them Uzbeks", the Pakistani military said.
Media reports said three civilians were also killed in the fighting.
The clashes erupted after the militants ambushed a security forces convoy that was evacuating soldiers injured in a suicide attack on Khajori check post on Wednesday.