Security forces killed 17 Taliban on Friday in a clash in Khyber tribal district, with one soldier and three militiamen also dying, security officials said.
Fighting erupted after troops and a government-backed local militia launched a joint operation against the Taliban in the Spindand area of Khyber tribal district.
“At least 17 militants have been killed in the clash while one soldier and three members of the militia embraced martyrdom,” a security official told AFP.
Two security personnel and four militia members were wounded, he said. “The number of injured from the Taliban side is unknown,” he added.
An administration official in Khyber, Mutahir Zeb Khan, confirmed the clash.
“The target of the operation was a local Taliban group, Lashkar-e-Islam. The fighting started on Thursday evening and the exchange of fire continued at short intervals,” Khan told AFP.
Some 18,000 people fled their homes in Khyber in October last year amid fears of a fresh onslaught of fighting between the army and militants linked to the Pakistani Taliban.
Militants have killed more than 4,800 people across Pakistan since government troops raided the Red Mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2012.