At least 12 militants have been killed by Pakistani security forces in the troubled Malakand region in the country’s northwest, where troops are conducting operations against the local Taliban.

Four of the militants were killed on Sunday when they were trying to enter Malakand from Bajaur tribal region.

The militants, who were intercepted near a check post, fired at security forces, sparking a gun battle in which they were killed, authorities said.

Security forces recovered a rocket launcher, four machine guns and six grenades from the site of the skirmish.

The incident came hours after troops killed eight militants last night in Buner district, which is part of the Malakand region. Six suspects were arrested during a search operation in Lakki Marwat district in the northwest.

Security forces have been conducting operations against the Tehrik-e-Taliban in Swat, which too is part of Malakand division, since May.

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