Security forces kill 11 militants in northwest Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:20am EDT

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Dozens of militants from Afghanistan crossed the border into Pakistan and attacked a village on Thursday, Pakistani military officials said, an incident likely to increase tensions between Islamabad and Kabul.

Eleven militants were killed in the skirmish, which lasted several hours, in the tribal region of Bajaur, officials said, and two Pakistani soldiers were wounded.

Local military officials said the militants took up positions in the village of Katkot in the Mamund area, and retreated after Pakistani forces brought in reinforcements.

Bajaur is one of the Pashtun tribal regions near the Afghan border. The Pakistan military has mounted recent offensives there against the al Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taliban, which is considered Pakistan's biggest security threat.

Last month, Pakistan accused NATO and the Afghan military of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan, following a cross-border attack that killed 13 Pakistani troops.

The attack followed years of calls by the United States for Pakistan to eliminate safe havens for militants on its side of the border.

Pakistan says it is being unfairly blamed for supporting insurgents in Afghanistan, and that the attacks from Afghanistan show how hard it is for any government to control the mountainous region along the border.

(Reporting by Saud Mehsud in DERA ISMAIL KHAN and Jibran Ahmad in PESHAWAR; Writing by Qasim Nauman; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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