26 Killed in Pakistan Border Clash

26 Killed in Pakistan Border Clash26 Killed in Pakistan Border Clash

Seven Pakistani soldiers and 19 Taliban fighters were killed in fighting in North Waziristan near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Pakistan’s military confirmed on Monday.

A military source said the soldiers were killed when one of the Taliban fighters exploded a suicide vest during clashes on Sunday night.

The 19 dead Taliban members included five of the group’s local commanders, the source said, Al Jazeera reported.

The Pakistani military launched a ground offensive against rebel strongholds near the Afghan border about a year ago after evacuating nearly half a million people from the tribal region.

The extent of casualties in the offensive is unclear. North Waziristan has been completely sealed since the operation started and there is no way to verify the military’s death tolls.

A major military operation against local and foreign militants has been underway since last June in North Waziristan, once considered the base of the Pakistani Taliban. The army says it has cleared 90 percent of the region since launching the June 15 operation.

Pakistan has been rocked by violence in the past few days. On Saturday, gunmen in the country’s southwest opened fire on a vehicle carrying police officers.

In a separate assault on Friday night, gunmen disguised as members of the Pakistani security forces killed 22 passengers after forcing them off buses traveling from the western city of Quetta to Karachi on the southern coast.