PESHAWAR, Pakistan — At least 72 people have been killed in two days of intense fighting between Pakistani security forces and hundreds of militants who crossed from Afghanistan into northwest Pakistan, officials said.
Local officials and residents in Upper Dir, a remote valley that borders the Afghan province of Konar, said Pakistani troops regained control of the area after 36 hours of fierce clashes with heavily armed militants who attacked a police checkpoint Wednesday.
At least 27 Pakistanis, including four civilians, were killed in the fighting, as were 45 insurgents, local police officials said. The dead included two women, a child and a prayer leader in the town of Shaltalo.
The insurgent fighters blew up at least two schools and stole weapons from the Pakistani checkpoint, according to local officials in the area, who said the militants were believed to be Afghans and Pakistanis.
Omar Hassan Ahravi, who identified himself as a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban in the nearby Malakand region, told some local reporters that his organization had carried out the attack "with Afghan friends."
Ahravi said the militants managed to seize Pakistani antiaircraft weapons.
The mountainous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is famously porous, making it easy for Afghan fighters based in Pakistan to cross over for attacks on coalition forces. But fighters based in Afghanistan rarely stage missions on the Pakistan side of the border.