6 soldiers, 40 militants killed in NW Pakistan

6 soldiers, 40 militants killed in NW Pakistan

Islamabad: Hundreds of militants attacked Pakistani security forces in a restive tribal area on the Afghan border, sparking clashes that left six soldiers and 40 militants dead, military officials said Sunday.

The fighting took place late Saturday in the Mohmand tribal area, a hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda activity, officials from the paramilitary Frontier Corps told AFP.

Some of the attackers came from the Afghan side of the border, and were joined by local Taliban fighters. The combined force of about 600 militants then attacked the paramilitary fort near the border, the officials said.

The attack sparked gun battles that lasted for several hours, a security official told AFP, adding that the attackers eventually fled the scene.

Seven soldiers were wounded in the clashes, they said.

Islamabad and Kabul have been unable to rein in the extremists that have been holed up in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas since they fled Afghanistan after the US-led invasion that drove out the Taliban government in late 2001.

Last week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said during by a visit to Kabul by his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari that the two countries had a “new relationship" and determination to defeat terrorism and extremism.

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