At least one soldier and 30 militants were killed on Wednesday in clashes between Pakistani security forces and Islamic insurgents in the restive north—western region, officials said.

A group of militants attacked a security forces convoy on a routine manoeuvre in the Dabori area of the Orakzai tribal district, an intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.

“We believe that 30 militants were killed and 14 injured. On our side, one soldier was killed and four sustained injuries,” the official said.

Orakzai has become a stronghold for the militants after they were uprooted from nearby South Waziristan in a military operation last year.

Security forces launched a formal offensive in Orakzai in March after reports that the al—Qaeda and Taliban militants were using the area to train and launch terrorist attacks in various parts of Pakistan.

According to officials, hundreds of militants and dozens of soldiers have been killed in the fight, and large parts of the the district have been cleared of insurgents.

But militants remained holed up in the mountainous areas of the upper Orakzai region, occasionally attacking the deployed security forces.

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