PESHAWAR  - Dozens of Taliban militants coming from Afghanistan attacked a Pakistani paramilitary checkpoint overnight, sparking clashes that left at least five soldiers and up to 15 militants dead, officials said Monday.
The attack in Mohmand tribal region, 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).
The area is cut off to journalists and aid workers and it was not possible to confirm the death toll independently.
“Militants attacked a Frontier Corps checkpost in Olai in Baizai area of Mohmand tribal region on Sunday night, which triggered a firefight, killing five troops and 15 rebels,” officials said. Five troops were also injured and the militants had infiltrated Pakistan from Afghanistan’s northeastern Kunar province, they said.
The identity of the militants was not clear, but Afghan and Pakistani Taliban sympathisers have strongholds on both sides of the porous border.
The FC spokesman confirmed the incident and said around 60 militants had attacked the post from three different directions.
He told BBC that five security personnel went missing after the attack by the militants. However, four of them have come back, he added.
A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban said they carried out the assault in the Mohmand tribal area.
Mukarram Kharasani, TTP spokesman, told BBC on telephone that the attack was launched from the Pakistani side. He said the militia men had abducted a security personnel and claimed one of his men was also killed in the clashes.
Pakistan has repeatedly complained about Pakistani Taliban militants using Afghanistan as a base to stage cross-border attacks.
The military stepped up raids on militant hideouts in Mohmand last summer.