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24 Insurgents Killed Near Pakistan-Afghanistan Border

Pakistan's military says U.S-led coalition forces operating in Afghanistan have killed 24 suspected Islamic militants on the Pakistani side of the two countries' border.

The Pakistani military spokesman, Major-General Shaukat Sultan, says the incident took place on Thursday night in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region, which borders Afghanistan.

He says coalition forces inside Afghanistan had engaged a group of insurgents along the border with Pakistan, opposite North Waziristan.

"The incident that took place on the Pak-Afghan border last night. It was indeed a clash between the anti-coalition militia and the coalition forces inside Afghanistan," he explained. "Our troops when they were informed [by the coalition] they took up precautionary positions. It is suspected that these Taleban, they were trying to escape and when they were trying to enter Pakistan, that is the time when they were hit by the coalition forces. [Our] own troops in the search found out 24 dead bodies and two-twin cabin vehicles, they were destroyed."

General Sultan says the coalition troops fired across the border and killed the insurgents. The type of weaponry used was not made clear, but originally, it was reported that it was a missile strike.

General Sultan says most of the dead were fighters of Afghanistan's former Taleban regime, but some were of Central Asian origin.

The confirmation by a Pakistani official that the insurgents were on Pakistani territory is a departure from usual practice. Up to now, Pakistan has denied that insurgents are operating from its territory into Afghanistan.

However, Taleban insurgents and remnants of the al-Qaida terror network have increased attacks in Afghanistan in recent weeks. Officials of the Afghan government and the U.S military have alleged that the insurgents are using Pakistan border areas to stage some of these attacks.

Pakistan says it has deployed thousands of troops to seal the border with Afghanistan. Instead, it blames coalition forces for failing to prevent the escaping militants from crossing into Pakistan.