Pakistan troops kill 15 militants: officials

Pakistani troops killed 15 militants in a pre-dawn gunbattle in the tribal district of Mohmand near the Afghan border, local officials said on Sunday.

The gun fight erupted after more than 40 militants armed with rockets and assault rifles stormed a security post in Baizai town, where security forces have been trying flush out insurgents, local official Maqsood Hussain said.

The paramilitary post, located in a sensitive area facing the eastern Afghan province of Kunar, had recently been reinforced by soldiers following intelligence reports that militants were planning an assault, he added.

"Troops launched a counter-attack and killed at least 15 militants and wounded another 15 rebels," Hussain said. Two soldiers were wounded in the clash, he said.

A security official confirmed the incident and the militant losses.

Pakistan's northwest and tribal areas have been wracked by violence, mostly targeting security officials, since hundreds of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters sought refuge there after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

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