More than 50 Pakistani soldiers went missing after an attack by Taliban militants on a check post in a northwest tribal area near the Afghan border, said officials on Wednesday.

Taliban rebels stormed Gwar Pari post in Mohmand tribal district on Sunday and claimed that seven paramilitary soldiers were killed, said a security official.

“The post, located very close to the border, was manned by 65 soldiers and so far 11 have established contacts with us,” he said adding that the “others remained unaccounted for”.

A Taliban spokesman on Sunday said its fighters killed seven soldiers and captured 10. But the official refused to confirm the Taliban claims, saying “we have not seen the bodies”.

Afghan authorities said 10 Pakistani soldiers, one of them wounded, had entered Kunar province over the past few days. “We handed them to the Pakistan consulate in Jalalabad,” said Afghan border police commander Mohammad Afzal.

“It is very likely that some soldiers might have crossed into Afghanistan because the post is just at the border,” said a senior security official.

A local administration official said around 54 soldiers were believed to be missing.

Of the 65 troops manning the post, 11 had returned and 54 were still missing, the official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP.

Washington says Pakistan's tribal belt, which lies outside direct government control, is an Al-Qaeda headquarters.

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