Updated: 07/20/2013 23:54 | By Agence France-Presse

Pakistan clashes kill four soldiers, 15 militants

At least 15 militants and four soldiers were killed during clashes in a tribal district in northwest Pakistan, security officials said Saturday.


Pakistan clashes kill four soldiers, 15 militants

A Pakistani paramilitary soldier stands near a checkpoint in the Khyber tribal district, on March 15, 2013. At least 15 militants and four soldiers have been killed during clashes in a tribal district in northwest Pakistan, security officials tell AFP.

The confrontation started on Friday and continued until Saturday morning in Khyber, one of the seven tribal districts along the Afghan border, officials said.

"During exchange of fire, troops killed at least 15 militants and destroyed their two hideouts," a senior security official told AFP. "Four soldiers also embraced shahadat (martyrdom) in the operation," the official added.

Another security official also confirmed the toll, which could not be verified by independent sources.

It was not clear how the clashes began, but Pakistan troops have been targeting Taliban and Lashkar-e-Islam militia in a recent military push in the important Khyber tribal district.

The key area straddles the NATO supply line into Afghanistan, used by US-led troops to evacuate military equipment ahead of their 2014 withdrawal.

Pakistani troops have been fighting for years against homegrown insurgents in the tribal belt, which Washington considers the main hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

Separately, a bomb attack in Pakistan's port city of Karachi late Saturday wounded eight people including a government official, police said.

"Apparently the bomb was planted in a motorcycle, eight people have been injured, condition of some of them is critical," Nasir Lodhi, a senior police official told AFP.

Lodhi said Matanat Ali Khan, a government official, was the target "but motives and causes of the attack yet to be investigated," he said.

Karachi, a city of 18 million people, contributes 42 percent of Pakistan's GDP but is rife with murder and kidnappings and has been plagued for years by ethnic, sectarian and political violence.

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