PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – At least two soldiers and four militants were killed in an exchange of fire in Pakistan’s troubled tribal belt near the Afghan border, the military said on Monday.
The clash took place during a clearance operation late Sunday in North Waziristan tribal district, where the military has been waging a major offensive against insurgents since June.
“Four terrorists were killed during clearance operation in Gharlamai area of North Waziristan. Two soldiers also embraced shahadat (martyrdom) in the exchange of fire,” a military statement said.
No other details of the clash were given however two intelligence officials said both soldiers and militants used heavy weapons.
North Waziristan is a major base for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistani Taliban), which rose up against the state in 2007.
The army says it has killed more than 1,100 militants and lost more than 100 soldiers since the start of the operation.
An AFP tally based on regular updates from the military puts the militant death toll at above 1,400, with around 100 soldiers killed.
The number and identity of those killed is difficult to verify as there is limited media access to the conflict zones.
In Khyber tribal district, neighbouring North Waziristan, a member of a local peace committee was killed by a roadside bomb on Monday.
Peace committees are volunteer forces made up of local tribesmen who support the government’s anti-Taliban efforts in the region.
“A volunteer was killed and two others were wounded when an IED planted on a roadside exploded,” local government official Tayyab Ali Khan told AFP.
Intelligence officials confirmed the bombing and casualties.
Extremist Islamic militants have taken sanctuary in Khyber after fleeing strongholds in North Waziristan and troops began a military operation in Khyber in October.