updated 1/11/2009 4:21:27 AM ET 2009-01-11T09:21:27

At least 40 militants were killed and scores of others wounded Sunday as security forces repulsed an attack by about 600 fighters in northwestern Pakistan, a military official said.

Six security forces were also killed and seven wounded in the pre-dawn attack in Mohmand agency.

Insurgents attacked the Pakistani Frontier Corps' camp at about 2 a.m. with mortars and rockets, then used small arms to fire on a checkpoint near the Mohammad Ghat camp, said a military official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to comment to the media.

The attackers were eventually driven off, but scattered skirmishes continued, he said.

Volitile Afghan border
The Mohmand agency lies along the volatile Afghan border and the military official said the bulk of the militants crossed over from Afghanistan and later joined with Pakistani allies. He said at least 40 militants were killed in the fighting.

The lawless and remote mountain region is believed to be used by pro-Taliban militants as a launching pad for attacks into Afghanistan, and is difficult for reporters to access.

Pakistan has deployed tens of thousands of troops to police its tribal regions, but Western and Afghan officials say that has not deterred militants.

Also Sunday, suspected militants abducted a government official in South Waziristan tribal agency, another border area to the south of Mohmand, according to intelligence officials who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media.

Gunman in four vehicles stopped a convoy in which the official, Amir Latif, had been traveling, the officials said. The suspected militants bundled Latif in one of the vehicles and drove off.

It was not immediately clear what Latif's official position was.

More on Pakistan Taliban   |  Afghanistan

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