Five militants, soldier killed in Pakistan exchange of fire

An exchange of fire between the Pakistani security forces and militants Friday killed five rebels and a soldier in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border, the military said.

AFP| Last Updated: Feb 20, 2015, 23:24 PM IST

Karachi: An exchange of fire between the Pakistani security forces and militants Friday killed five rebels and a soldier in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border, the military said.

The exchange of fire took place during a cordon and search operation near the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan, where the Pakistani authorities are carrying out a major offensive against the Taliban and other insurgents.

The conflict zone is off-limits to journalists, so there is no way to independently verify the number and identity of those killed.

Pakistan began a long-awaited push to clear insurgent bases from North Waziristan last June after a bloody Taliban attack on Karachi airport finally sank faltering peace talks.

Air strikes, artillery, mortars and ground troops have all been used to take back territory.

The semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Afghan border have for years been a hideout for Islamist militants of all stripes, including Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.