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8 Pak Soldiers, 35 Militants Killed In Clash

PTI [ Updated 31 Jan 2012, 19:47:46 ]
8 Pak Soldiers, 35 Militants Killed In Clash

Islamabad, Jan 31: At least eight Pakistani soldiers and 35 militants were killed today in a fierce gunbattle after Taliban stormed a military post in the restive Kurram tribal region in the country’s northwest.

The Inter-Services Public Relations confirmed the death of eight soldiers and 35 militants in the fighting in Jogi area of Kurram Agency, which has witnessed intense clashes in recent days.

Another 15 troops were injured, ISPR said. Media reports said over 100 militants attacked the post at around midnight.

The military said the post was recently established at Jogi to sever a route frequently used by militants to travel from Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency to Kurram Agency and North Waziristan.

The militants targeted soldiers who were trying to hold a strategic mountain in Jogi area and the fighting continued till this morning, officials said.

Troops had taken control of the mountain last week after fighting that killed six soldiers and 20 militants.

Militants in the region are loyal to Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud.

The militants use the Jogi area to gain access to North Waziristan, which the US has described as a safe haven for Taliban and al-Qaeda elements.

Besides the activities of the Taliban, Kurram Agency has also been affected by clashes between Shia and Sunni tribesmen over the past four years.

Hundreds of people have died in the fighting between the rival tribesmen.