At least 2,000 Pakistani soldiers backed by helicopter gunships have pushed into a remote mountainous region on the Afghan border in an attempt to capture Islamic militants, including a rebel tribal leader. 

The operation is Pakistan's latest attempt in the past several months to dislodge al-Qaida-linked fighters from semi-autonomous South Waziristan.

Lieutenant-General Safdar Hussain, a regional military commander, told reporters Friday soldiers faced some resistance from what he called "miscreants."

He said soldiers are also looking for tribal leader Abdullah Mehsud, accused of masterminding the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers last month.

The militants who captured the engineers have demanded an end to anti-terrorism military operations in the mountainous region.

Security forces rescued one of the hostages during a commando operation. The other Chinese hostage, as well as five kidnappers, were killed.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP, Reuters.