The Pakistani army kills 4 militants during a raid along the border with Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan security forces killed four militants in a shootout during an overnight raid in the country’s northwest near the border with Afghanistan, the military said Sunday.

A military statement said security forces conducted an intelligence-based operation in the Khaisoor area of North Waziristan district, where they exchanged fire with militants. It said troops seized weapons and ammunition from the militants’ hideout.

The military said one of the most wanted militant commanders, identified by single name of Ibrahim, was among the dead, all of whom were involved in attacks on security forces and civilians. Troops were carrying out sanitization of the surrounding areas to eliminate any hiding militants, it said.

North Waziristan served for decades as a safe haven for militants until the military carried out a major operation after an attack on an army-run school in Peshawar in 2014 killed more than 150 people, mostly schoolchildren.

The army announced after the yearslong operation that it had cleared the region of militants, but attacks continue occasionally, raising concerns that the local Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, found sanctuaries in Afghanistan and are regrouping in the area.

The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but allies of the Afghan Taliban, which seized power in Afghanistan in 2021 as the U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout after 20 years of war.