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Pakistan kills 30 Taliban near Afghan border

Taliban attack Pakistan military checkpost

Pakistani security forces killed 30 Taliban fighters on Thursday in a counter-offensive after coming under attack in a volatile tribal area on the Afghan border, military officials said.

"Troops equipped with mortars and long range cannons retaliated killing 30 militants," an official said, adding that they had already recovered 10 bodies.

Militants killed one soldier and wounded four in an early morning attack on a military checkpost in Chamarkand town in Mohmand tribal region, prompting security forces to retaliate.

Chamarkand is about two kilometers (one mile) from the eastern Afghan province of Kunar, which is troubled by a growing Taliban insurgency.

Mohmand tribal district neighbors Bajaur, where the Pakistani military on Tuesday claimed to have captured a vast Taliban and al-Qaeda hideout dug into mountains near the Afghan border in an offensive that killed 75 militants.

Pakistan's paramilitary forces said Wednesday troops had also killed 38 militants during a week-long operation against the Taliban under the codename "Spring Cleaning" in the northwest Taliban stronghold of Pastawana.

Under U.S. pressure, Pakistan has in the last year significantly increased operations against militants in its northwest and tribal belt, which Washington has branded an al-Qaeda "headquarters" and the most dangerous region on Earth.

The rugged tribal terrain became a stronghold for hundreds of extremists who fled neighboring Afghanistan after the U.S.-led invasion toppled the hardline Taliban regime in late 2001.

Washington says the militants use the semi-autonomous tribal belt to plot and stage attacks on NATO and U.S. troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Troops equipped with mortars and long range cannons retaliated killing 30 militants

A Pakistani official