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20 militants, one soldier killed in Pakistan clash

Islamabad: At least 20 pro-Taliban militants and a Pakistani soldier were killed today in a clash in the restive Mohmand tribal region bordering Afghanistan, officials said.

Four soldiers were injured in the skirmish, which erupted when the militants launched an attack on a check post at Salala in Mohmand agency after midnight last night, they said.

The troops gunned down 20 militants while repulsing the attack, the officials were quoted as saying by TV news channels.

The militants were armed with heavy weapons. It could not immediately be ascertained whether the militants had sneaked into Pakistani territory from neighbouring Afghanistan.

A large number of Pakistani Taliban militans fled to Afghanistan after the military launched operations in the tribal belt and Swat valley some years ago.

The Salala check post was attacked by NATO aircraft in November last year. Twenty four Pakistani soldiers were killed in that attack, triggering a standoff between Pakistan and the US that is yet to be resolved.

The Pakistan government closed NATO supply routes to Afghanistan after the attack and demanded that the US apologise for the incident.

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