Five militants, two soldiers die in clashes near Afghan border

Other News Materials 8 August 2008 15:24 (UTC +04:00)

At least five militants and two soldiers were killed Friday as Pakistani security forces continued to exchange fire with suspected Taliban fighters in the Bajaur tribal district bordering Afghanistan, the military said.

The clashes erupted late Wednesday when more than 200 heavily armed rebels attacked a security checkpoint in Loi Sam village of Bajaur, which is believed to be one of the sanctuaries for foreign militants, reported dpa.

"Sporadic fighting continues in the area and both sides are using heavy weapons," a military spokesman said.

Helicopter gunships also pounded militant positions on hills.

The fresh casualties increased the death toll in three days of fighting to 37, which included seven government paramilitary troops.

However, the militants claimed they had killed up to 65 personnel while reporting only four deaths on their side.

Forty soldiers were killed when militants ambushed a security convey near Loi Sam Thursday night, Maulvi Omar, a spokesman for the local Taliban, was quoted as saying by Geo news channel. He said 17 troops were also seized during the attack.

The claim was not verified by the military.

The clashes came after this week's warning by rebels that a spate of bombings and attacks would be launched throughout the country if the government did not stop its offensive in the valley of Swat.