South Asia

Pakistan soldiers killed in militant ambush in Khyber

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At least nine paramilitary soldiers have been killed in a militant ambush in a volatile tribal district of north-west Pakistan, military officials say.

Reports say that gun battles raged for hours in the Bara area, close to the city of Peshawar.

At least 14 militants were killed during the clashes, officials say.

The area is home to a number of different militant groups who have been at war with each other and with the Pakistani forces.

Correspondents say Khyber has been a hotbed of recent militant activity and that troops there are frequently targeted.

"It was an ambush in the afternoon. It continued for two to three hours, and there have been casualties in the ambush. There have been killings of the terrorists as well," military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas told the AFP news agency.

In August dozens of people were killed in a suspected suicide attack at a mosque in Khyber.

Khyber has also been targeted by US drones this year - one of the few times such attacks have taken place outside the militants' main sanctuary of Waziristan.