Tribal force guard a machine gun in a bunker in the north-western district of Upper Dir yesterday after an offensive was launched by Taliban militants in the region near the Afghan border. Taliban and other Al Qaida-linked militants have carved out strongholds on both sides of the porous border. Afghanistan and Pakistan blame each other for several recent cross-border attacks. Image Credit: AFP

Parachinar: An anti-Taliban group killed 13 militants in clashes in north-western Pakistan near the Afghan border, a government official said yesterday.

Several members of the militia and insurgents were also wounded in the gunbattles yesterday and on Friday in the Kurram tribal region, said local administrator Noor Alam Khan.

Encouraged by Islamabad, tribesmen recently formed the militia to kill or evict Taliban militants and their supporters from the region. They have killed 25 insurgents in clashes this week.

The Pakistani military has also carried out attacks against the Taliban who are hiding in the area after escaping last year's offensive in the nearby Orakzai tribal region.

The Pakistani Taliban have links to the insurgent movement fighting foreign forces and their local allies in neighbouring Afghanistan, but separate goals. They are a sworn enemy of Pakistan and are focused on destabilising the country's US-allied government through violence.