Pakistani security forces killed 29 militants on Friday in two troubled tribal regions near Afghanistan, officials said, as troops pressed on with operations aimed at flushing out insurgents who have threatened the state.

Eighteen of the alleged militants died early Friday at a military checkpoint in the Orakzai tribal region.

Lt. Col. Tahir Akram, a spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps, said the fighting involved insurgents who arrived from the nearby Khyber region to try to retake the checkpoint in Orakzai where the Taliban have a heavy presence.

He said the security forces repulsed the attack and captured four insurgents. One soldier was wounded.

Government forces had evicted insurgents last week from the same checkpoint in the Baizoti area of Orakzai. The military began a major operation against insurgents in Orakzai in mid-March. Nearly 300 militants have been reported killed so far.

Later Friday, Pakistani security forces clashed with militants in Kurram, another segment of the lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. The shootout left 11 suspected insurgents dead, said Rashid Khan, a local government official.

The U.S. has applauded Pakistan’s efforts to clamp down on the Taliban, and has pushed it to do even more. American officials say Pakistan must prevent its soil from being used as a sanctuary by militants involved in attacks on Western troops in Afghanistan.

However, information about the fighting is nearly impossible to verify independently because the tribal areas are largely off-limits to outsiders as well as remote and dangerous.

Elsewhere in Pakistan’s northwest Friday, police said they killed two suspected suicide bombers in a shootout.

The suspects were on foot in Lakki Marwat town and were killed after refusing to surrender to police who tracked them down after getting a tip from intelligence agents, police official Said Nawaz Khan said.

Keywords: Fighting militancy

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