KHAR, June 16: Hundreds of militants crossed into Pakistan on Thursday morning and attacked border areas in Mamond tehsil of Bajaur Agency.

The attackers used heavy weapons and killed at least five tribal people, three of them women. Over a dozen people were missing.

According to local administration officials, at least eight militants were killed. They said the militants from Afghanistan’s Kunar province crossed the border into Manro jungle, Sarkai and Makha areas and launched the attack using rockets, mortars and other heavy weapons.

Tribesmen and volunteers of Mamond Lashkar fought back. They were helped by security personnel manning nearby checkpoints. Later, reinforcements arrived from the Khar headquarters.

The battle continued for several hours. At least eight of the people injured in the clash were taken to the agency headquarters hospital in Khar. A woman in critical condition was sent to Peshawar.

Local tribesman Said Wali said 200 to 250 Afghan Taliban stormed the area at about 5am and attacked people with heavy weapons. He said several bodies were lying in forests, but it was not clear whether they were of militants or local people.

It was the first cross-border attack in Bajaur.

Pakistan recently lodged a protest with the Afghan government and Nato forces after hundreds of militants from the Kunar province attacked security posts in Upper Dir, killing 27 personnel and five civilians.

AFP adds: The militants eventually fled and the firing stopped around 1pm, officials said.

In Afghanistan, Kunar police chief Mohammad Ewaz Nazir said: “There hasn’t been any attack from Afghan soil on Pakistani territory today or yesterday.”

Talking to AFP, he alleged that Pakistani troops had been shelling Shigal district of the province for a month.

“Four children and two men were killed in one of their rocket attacks on the Chugam area of Shigal district yesterday,” he said.

A Pakistani security official said: “We cannot say why Afghans are denying the attack, but we are certain that the militants came from across the border.”