PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) -More than 100 pro-Taliban militants were killed during three days of clashes with Pakistani forces in a remote tribal town, a provincial official said.
“Intelligence reports and information gathered from local sources indicate that more than 100 militants had been killed in fighting in Miranshah,” said Qazi Ijaz, a spokesman for the governor of North West Frontier Province on Monday.
Authorities had also imposed a curfew in Miranshah, the embattled main town of the semi-autonomous North Waziristan tribal agency, which borders the province on one side and Afghanistan on the other.
Pakistan’s top military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan confirmed that 46 militants died on Saturday and 21 more on Sunday and Monday, but added that the death toll could be higher.
Five paramilitary soldiers were also killed, he said.
“In the morning when troops tried to take control of a telephone exchange, they met resistance,” he said. “As a result of an exchange of fire, some 19 militants including some foreigners were killed,” he added.
“Separately, miscreants fired at a paramilitary checkpost near Miranshah injuring two soldiers. The forces responded killing two miscreants,” he said, using the Pakistani jargon for Islamic militants.
The fighting broke out on Saturday when hundreds of tribal rebels seized government buildings in revenge for an army raid three days earlier targeting an Al-Qaeda training camp, killing 40 militants, including foreigners.
Pakistani forces have spent the last four years battling Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who sneaked across from Afghanistan after a US-led military operation toppled the Taliban in late 2001.
They have also battled their local supporters in the semi-autonomous tribal regions, who are blamed for the current unrest.