Exchange of fire took place during operation to clear suspected militants from tribal agency.
At least three soldiers and seven militants were killed on Monday in a clash in Bajaur Agency, officials said.
Heavy exchange of fire took place during an operation to clear suspected militants from the mountainous Banda area of Salarzai town in Bajaur, local and security officials said. “Two soldiers and an Army captain have been martyred while seven militants were also killed in the clash,” a security official told AFP, adding that two soldiers were wounded.
The paramilitary Frontier Corps and local tribal police early on Monday launched a house-to-house “search and cordon operation … to clear the area of militants,” said the official. A group of militants attacked them in the afternoon triggering “a heavy exchange of fire which lasted for several hours,” the official said, requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to media. The clearance operation was still ongoing on Monday night with intermittent gunfire, the official added.
Bajaur is a part of Pakistan’s seven tribal districts, which are rife with homegrown insurgents as well as Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives. The mountainous Banda area is considered to be a particular stronghold of militant groups, a senior government official in the area said.