Khar: About 60 Taliban militants crossed from Afghanistan into Pakistan and attacked a paramilitary checkpoint there Monday, killing a soldier and sparking a gunbattle that lasted more than two hours, a government official said.
Such border unrest has raised tensions between the two countries over efforts to crack down on militant groups, including Taliban fighters and al Qaeda factions.
Pakistan has complained that militants coming from Afghan bases have killed at least 55 members of the security forces and tribal police over the last month. Afghan officials have complained that Pakistan has launched hundreds of rockets into eastern Afghanistan since May, killing at least 40 people.
In Monday`s cross-border attack, Taliban militants used mortar and rocket fire to cover their advance into the Bajur tribal area, said Shah Nasim, a local government official. Soldiers were eventually able to push the militants back over the border into Afghanistan`s Kunar province when reinforcements arrived, he said.
One soldier and two militants were killed, said Nasim.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, but claimed that 20 soldiers were killed. The Taliban often exaggerate the number of casualties in their attacks.
"Our men came from Afghanistan," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.
The Pakistan army denies it has intentionally fired rockets into Afghanistan, but acknowledges that several rounds fired at militants conducting cross-border attacks may have landed over the border.
Pakistan also blames the US for the recent attacks since many American forces pulled out of Kunar over the last year to focus on more populated areas in Afghanistan.
The US, however, claims Pakistan has failed to launch an offensive in the North Waziristan tribal area from where militants regularly attack NATO troops in Afghanistan.