Taliban attack 'kills three Pakistani soldiers'

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - At least three soldiers were killed after dozens of Taliban militants stormed a check post in Pakistan's northwest tribal region near the Afghan border, officials said Saturday.

The attack took place at a paramilitary check post in Khadizai area on the outskirts of Kalaya, the main town in the lawless Orakzai district, a senior military officer said.

"Three soldiers were martyred when Taliban armed with guns and rockets launched an attack overnight," he said, adding that several dozen insurgents were involved in the raid.

Another official said Pakistani security forces retaliated and killed more than 10 militants, but there was no independent confirmation of the toll.

Khadizai is located in Upper Orakzai most of which is in Taliban hands and is the scene of frequent clashes between security forces and Islamist militants while government troops are in control of its lower reaches.

Pakistan's seven tribal districts near the Afghan border are rife with homegrown insurgents and are strongholds of Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives.

Islamist militants have killed more than 4,900 people across Pakistan since government troops raided an extremist mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.

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