Fighting in NW Pakistan leaves 15 militants, 1 soldier dead

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Fifteen militantsand one soldier were killed on Thursday when the Pakistanimilitary mounted another operation in a week of fightingdesigned to seize control of a remote but strategic valley inthe northwest, the army said.

The military has faced fierce resistance from the Talibanand its allies in the Tirah Valley in the Khyber region sincetroops set out to dislodge insurgents from strategicallyimportant heights above the valley six days ago.

Pakistani military officials say insurgents use the valleyas a base camp that enables them to carry out raids in othersemi-autonomous tribal areas near the Afghan border.