(ISLAMABAD) — Pakistani authorities alleged on Monday that 13 of its soldiers were killed by militants who crossed over the northwestern border from Afghanistan.
The heads of seven soldiers among the dead were later found without their bodies, the Pakistanis said.
It’s believed Islamabad will use this incident, in which 14 militants were also slain, to bolster its contention that Afghanistan also harbors members of al Qaeda and other extremists groups.
Pakistan has been under pressure by Washington and Kabul to go after the Taliban and its allies, who use the vast, untamed northwestern region to hide from government forces.
More times than not, Taliban and al Qaeda leaders operating in Pakistan are killed in missions by CIA unmanned drones rather than Pakistani troops.
Reacting to the latest assault on his troops, Pakistan’s newly-chosen Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told reporters in Karachi, “Pakistan has strongly protested with Afghanistan on the cross-border attacks and I will also take up this issue with [President Hamid] Karzai.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ashley Fantz, AnneClaire Stapleton and Ed Payne, CNN Newswire
Faith Karimi and Steve Almasy, CNN Newswire