(Reuters) – About 200 militants crossed into Pakistan’s rugged northwest from Afghanistan on Wednesday and attacked a security checkpost, killing one policeman, police said, and a television station put the death toll at seven.
It was not clear whether the militants were Afghans or Pakistanis. The border area is a global hub for militants, including al Qaeda and allies such as the Pakistani Taliban, who seek to topple the U.S.-backed Islamabad government.
The pre-dawn assault was launched in Shaldalo village in the mountainous northwestern region of Dir and fighting was still continuing, police said.
“They (militants) were in military uniform. They attacked the outpost and then went into forest there,” Mahmood Ahmed, a police officer in the region, told Reuters by telephone.
Militants linked to al Qaeda, who have vowed to avenge the killing of leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces in Pakistan on May 2, have intensified their attacks, mostly suicide bombings.
Pakistan’s Express 24/7 television said seven police were killed in Wednesday’s assault. Ahmed said all communication with the village had been cut off.
After the bin Laden raid, the United States told Pakistan it needs to step up the fight militants who launch attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan from their sanctuaries in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, far to the southwest of Dir.
(Reporting by Kamran Haider; Editing by Nick Macfie)