Some 150 militants attacked five security posts in Pakistan's tribal area near the Afghan border overnight, sparking a clash that killed 11 soldiers and 24 insurgents, officials said Friday.
The fighting in the Mohmand tribal area shows that insurgents in the region retain significant ability to coordinate and mount complex assaults, despite multiple military offensives against Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in Pakistan's northwest.
The top government official in Mohmand, Amjad Ali Khan, said 11 soldiers died in the fighting, while a dozen were wounded.
The troops called in helicopter gunships to help push back the militant fighters, said Maj. Fazl Ur Rehman, a spokesman for the Frontier Corps security force.
The fighting ended by morning. Information from Pakistan's tribal regions is nearly impossible to verify independently because access is restricted and the conflict zones are dangerous.
Mohmand has been a trouble spot for years and the focus of multiple army operations. Its border location makes it a valuable transit point for insurgents seeking to travel to Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO forces are fighting.