ISLAMABAD — Militants crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan and killed 13 Pakistani troops, beheading seven of them, the Pakistani military charged Monday.
Outraged, Pakistan’s new prime minister said he would protest to the Afghan president.
The border skirmish is a new sign of tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, two uneasy neighbors. Pakistan has complained that militants use parts of Afghanistan for sanctuary to stage attacks inside Pakistan.
That assertion helps Islamabad counter frequent US and NATO complaints that militants behind much of the violence in Afghanistan come from Pakistan.
Pakistani military officials said in a statement Monday that militants from Afghanistan crossed the border in the northwestern Pakistan’s Upper Dir region Sunday night and clashed with Pakistani forces on a patrol.
The military said six Pakistani troops were killed outright. Seven who went missing were killed and then beheaded, while the remaining four have not been found. The reports could not be independently verified.
Reflecting the gruesome nature of the attack, newly elected Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said he would complain directly to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.
Pakistani troops killed 14 of the militants, the military said.
The Pakistani Taliban said their fighters carried out the raid, but the statement did not say whether the attackers had crossed over from Afghanistan.
It said Pakistani claims of militant casualties were false.
Both sides often release false or partial information about such occurrences, which usually happen in areas inaccessible to the media.