At least seven soldiers have been killed in a gun battle with militants in Pakistan’s north-western tribal region bordering Afghanistan, the army says.
“In an intense exchange of fire, seven soldiers including an officer were killed,” Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistani army’s media wing, said in a statement late on Saturday.
Nine terrorists were killed in the operation and the area has been cleared by the army, it added. The military also said an army captain was among those killed. The military provided no details about the militants killed. Security forces had launched an intelligence-based operation against terrorists in North Waziristan.
North Waziristan tribal district is one of the seven so-called agencies in Pakistan’s insecure tribal area that borders Afghanistan, and was once the hideout of militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Afghan Haqqani network. North Waziristan has long been a sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups. Pakistan has carried out a number of military operations there in recent years and claims to have eliminated militant safe havens, but attacks persist.
The Pakistani military has pushed Islamist militants back from their mountainous hideouts near the Afghan border in a series of offensives launched from mid-2014.