The Pakistani military says dozens of Taliban militants coming from Afghanistan attacked border posts in the northwest,  killing four paramilitary soldiers.

The paramilitary Frontier Corps says Monday’s attack occurred in Olai, part of the Mohmand tribal area.

The attack in part of Pakistan’s restive tribal badlands, near the Afghan border, was beaten off when troops responded with artillery and heavy weapons, according to a spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC).

“Four of our soldiers were martyred and seven are still missing after the attack,” an official said, adding that a search operation has been launched in the area.

In the meantime a local official Siddiq Ullah said, “Militants attacked a Frontier Corps checkpost in Baizai area of Mohmand tribal region on Sunday night, which triggered a firefight, killing three troops and 14 rebels.”

Five troops were also injured and the militants had infiltrated Pakistan from Afghanistan’s northeastern Kunar province, he said.

The identity of the militants was not clear, but Afghan and Pakistani Taliban sympathisers have strongholds on both sides of the porous border but military officials said the attacking force included around 60 militants. The information could not be independently confirmed because the area is off-limits to most journalists.

Mohmand is one of seven districts in the country’s semi-autonomous tribal belt, where Taliban and al Qaeda-linked militants have carved out strongholds used to plot attacks on Pakistani, Afghan and Western targets.

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    Ahmad Shah Ghani Zada is the former Senior Editor of Khaama Press Agency who managed and overlooked the English edition. He is occasionally contributing stories to the agency.