75 Taliban Militants Killed In Fierce Clash in Pakistan

MINGORA, Pakistan -- Twenty-five Taliban militants and five Pakistani soldiers were killed in a fierce clash in the troubled Swat Valley in Pakistan's northwest on Wednesday, the military said.

The fighting broke out after about 70 militants attacked a security post in the Ucharai Sar area near Matta, a known stronghold of militants in the region.

"The attack was successfully repulsed, resulting in the death of 25 miscreants," the military said in a statement.

It said one officer was among the five soldiers killed.

Local military officials said a curfew had been imposed across the Swat Valley until further notice.

Muslim Khan, a spokesman for militants led by cleric Fazlullah, confirmed the clashes but said only one of their fighters was killed.

Pakistani authorities signed a peace pact with the militants in Swat in May, bringing a lull in months of violence, but militants have stepped up activity in recent weeks after accusing the government of failing to honor the accord.

Swat had been a top tourist destination until militants launched a campaign of violence last year to enforce Taliban-style Islamic law in the valley.

Separately, militants shot and killed an Afghan woman accused of being a U.S. spy in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border.

After the killing of the three intelligence officials on Monday, security forces fired mortar bombs on militant hideouts in the area and also arrested six suspects in a search operation early on Tuesday.

The militants are demanding the withdrawal of troops from the valley.

Earlier this week, militants killed three army intelligence men in an ambush and also took hostage 30 police and paramilitary soldiers in a raid on their post.