Islamabad: The Taliban killed 14 security personnel and beheaded all but one of them before displaying the heads of two soldiers on wooden poles in the lawless North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan, security officials said on Monday.
Nine soldiers were beheaded on Sunday when militants overran a security picket in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan Agency. The Taliban had been firing at the picket for the past few days, the military said.
Authorities later found the beheaded bodies of the soldiers, security officials were quoted as saying by the local media.
The US and Afghan officials have described North Waziristan as a safe haven for al Qaeda and Taliban.
Five soldiers were captured by militants when the military raided a house in Miranshah on Sunday night. They were later killed and four of them were beheaded. The heads of two soldiers were hung on poles in Miranshah and the bodies were dumped in the local market.
During the raid, the troops killed a Taliban commander and several other militants. The military said troops had inflicted heavy casualties among the rebels.
Security forces imposed a curfew and targeted militant positions with helicopter gunships, killing about 30 rebels. Three houses and a mosque were also hit during the air strikes, killing three civilians and injuring 20 others.
US and Afghan officials have described North Waziristan as a safe haven for al Qaeda and Taliban elements who carry out cross-border attacks on foreign troops in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has resisted growing US pressure to move troops into North Waziristan, which has been the focus of the CIA-operated drone campaign.
Analysts believe Pakistan is reluctant to target militants in North Waziristan because the security establishment has strong ties with them and looks at them as possible allies in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw.