Troops kill 38 militants in NW Pakistan

Security forces killed 38militants in two separate operations Sunday in an area near the Afghanborder where the army recently launched an offensive targeting thePakistani Taliban, a local official said.

The offensive in theOrakzai tribal area is the latest push by the Pakistani army to routthe Islamist extremists. Many Taliban fighters fled to the rugged,mountainous region last year after a separate operation in nearby SouthWaziristan, which had served as the group's main base.

Militantsattacked an army checkpoint in Sayd Khalil Baba village Sunday morning,but troops backed by artillery fire repulsed the assault and killed 26insurgents, said Samiullah Khan, a senior government administrator inthe Orakzai region.

Also Sunday, soldiers invaded militant hide-outs in another area of Orakzai, killing 12 Taliban fighters, said Khan.