Pakistani military officials say at least 21 soldiers and civilians have been killed in clashes between militants and troops in the country’s northwest .
The fighting in the North Waziristan tribal region began Sunday when militants attacked a military convoy near the main town of Miran Shah.
Pakistani military officials say at least 11 soldiers have been killed in two days of clashes. They say a “large number” of militants have also been killed. At least 65 people have been wounded in the fighting — which is rare in the tribal agency where militants and the military have reportedly reached an understanding not to attack each other.
North Waziristan is a stronghold of al-Qaida and Taliban-linked militants and believe to be a hub of the militant Haqqani network, which has carried out numerous attacks in neighboring Afghanistan.
The United States has repeatedly pressed Pakistan to launch a military offensive in North Waziristan, but military officials have resisted and said they need to focus on stabilizing other areas first.
The U.S. has carried out numerous drone strikes against militants in North Waziristan.
Elsewhere in Pakistan Tuesday, authorities say gunmen on motorcycles killed a senior Pakistani police officer in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.
Officials say Shah Nawaz Khan was senior member of the province’s Crimes Investigation Department, which investigates cases involving terrorism and sectarian violence.