3 Pakistani soldiers killed in militant attack in northwest

Four soldiers were also wounded in the attack

Peshawar: Suspected militants attacked Pakistani troops amid a search operation in a former Taliban and al-Qaida stronghold in the northwest near the Afghan border, triggering a shootout that killed three soldiers, the army said Sunday.

It said four soldiers also were wounded in the attack in South Waziristan, a district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The army provided no further details, but South Waziristan had served as a militant base until recent years when Pakistan said its operations there had cleared the area of the Taliban.

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No group claimed responsibility, although Pakistani Taliban have been blamed for such previous violence in the region, where militants have a presence.

According to a recently released U.N. report, more than 6,000 Pakistani insurgents are hiding in Afghanistan, most belonging to the outlawed Pakistani Taliban group, which often attacks Pakistani military and civilian targets.

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