Islamabad: Hundreds of Islamist militants attacked a checkpoint along the Afghan border, and nearly three dozen Pakistani paramilitary troops were missing, security officials said on Thursday.
The Afghan-Pakistan border is lengthy and porous, and skirmishes between security forces and militants are common.
The Frontier Corps troops disappeared from the Mohmand tribal region, said the two Pakistani officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak the media.
The officials blamed the Afghan Taliban for the attack, but a similar report from Afghanistan raised questions about the identity of the culprits.
Afghan officials said Wednesday that nine Pakistani militiamen had been apprehended in that country`s Kunar province, which is across from Mohmand. It was not clear if the nine were among the 35 reported missing Thursday, but Afghan police said the Pakistanis claimed they were fleeing the Pakistani Taliban.
Though linked to the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban are a different militant network. Both groups are dominated by the Pashtun ethnic group that straddles the Afghan-Pakistan border.
The Frontier Corps is also heavily Pashtun. Civilian militias set up by Pashtun tribes — known as lashkars — also operate in Pakistan`s tribal regions, where they take on Islamist extremists.