Islamabad: At least three militiamen and over 20 militants were killed in clashes between Pakistani troops and militants in Pakistan`s northwest tribal area of Bajaur Saturday afternoon, reported Xinhua citing local media.
According to a report by local Urdu TV channel Geo, the clashes broke out at noon time when a group of Pakistan and Afghan militants attacked security forces in Salazai area of Bajaur Agency, a militant insurgent tribal area at Pakistan-Afghan border.
Troops, with backup support of local pro-government peace militiamen, launched a retaliatory attack, killing at least 28 militants and injuring several others.
Three militiamen were killed and five others got injured in the joint operation. No loss of life was reported at troops side. Several hideouts of the militants were reportedly destroyed by shelling from army helicopter.
The troops also arrested 15 militants who were shifted to an undisclosed location for further interrogation.
The heavily armed militants who were reportedly over 100 in number used sophisticated weapons in the attack.
While most of the local media reported that the clashes claimed lives of 28 militants, a private TV channel ARY quoted unidentified official sources as saying that troops killed over 50 militants in the operation.
There is no official confirmation about the incident yet.
Saturday is the third consecutive day when clashes between militants and troops are taking place in Pakistan`s northwest tribal area.
The clashes broke out on late Thursday night when a group of Afghan militants crossed Pakistan-Afghan border to launch attack at two security border check posts of Pakistan Army in Lower Dir area. No causality was reported in the clashes.
The clashes continued between troops and Afghan militants in lower Dir and Bajaur areas Friday in which at least five militants were killed.
There is no official statement from either Pakistan or Afghan side over these border clashes, however, on Friday night, Afghan President Hamid Karzai called his Pakistan counterpart Asif Zardari and discussed bilateral ties, regional situation and peace process in the area with him.