Pakistan says it has launched a military strike at suspected militant and terrorist positions near the Afghan border.

Pakistani Army and paramilitary troops launched the helicopter search and attack mission in south Waziristan, one of the country's semi-autonomous so-called "tribal agencies."

Military spokesman, Major-General Shaukat Sultan Khan, described the target of the operation as suspected foreign terrorists.

He told VOA local authorities first negotiated with the alleged militants to get them to surrender, but that effort failed.

"They were suspected foreign terrorists, and they were offered to surrender voluntarily by the government, which they have failed to do, and hence this search operation has been launched," he said.

Pakistan has conducted a series of such strikes against suspected clandestine bases for foreign militants using the country as a safe haven.

Targets of these operations have included the al-Qaida network, blamed for major terror attacks on the United States in 2001, and the Taleban, former Afghan rulers ousted by U.S.-led forces for harboring al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Laden. These groups are believed to be conducting cross-border raids into Afghanistan.

The Pakistani strikes, along with intelligence and law enforcement operations, have resulted in the capture of hundreds of suspected al-Qaida members and other militants.

The most recent of these military operations took place in October. Eight foreign militants were killed and more than a dozen captured. That operation also cost the lives of two Pakistani soldiers.