Sep 16, 5:44 AM EDT

Militants attack Pakistani post near Afghan border

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ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A group of militants attacked a Pakistan army post from neighboring Afghanistan Tuesday morning, sparking a shootout that left 11 insurgents and three soldiers killed, the military said, as government warplanes killed 20 local militants elsewhere in the northwest.

"A group of terrorists" crossed over from Afghanistan and attacked the army's Dandi Kuch post in North Waziristan before fleeing back, the military said in a statement. Three soldiers were "martyred" in the fighting, it said.

The military said Pakistani security forces "valiantly" repulsed the attack and captured one of the attackers.

The attack was likely to further strain relations between Islamabad and Kabul.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a volatile and porous border that is often the scene of cross-border attacks. Militants from both countries also cross to use the neighboring country's soil as a safe haven.

Pakistan is a key ally of the United States. The latest cross-border attack came as the army is carrying out a major offensive against Pakistani Taliban and foreign militants in the troubled North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The operation is aimed at targeting those accused of targeting U.S. forces in Afghanistan and attacking civilians and security forces in Pakistan.

The authorities launched the June 15 operation following a militant attack on one of the country's busiest airports in the port city of Karachi.

Since then, the military has killed about 1,000 militants while it lost more than 80 soldiers.

Pakistan's army has said it will trace and eliminate militants even in the country's remotest tribal region.

Also Tuesday, Pakistani warplanes targeted three militant hideouts in a Taliban stronghold in the Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border, killing at least 20 insurgents.

In a separate statement, the military said it also destroyed two ammunition depots of militants in the "precise" airstrikes.

The identity of the dead was not immediately known and the military gave no further details. Pakistani tribal areas are off limits to journalists.

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