PESHAWAR, Pakistan—Islamist militants ambushed a convoy of Pakistani troops traveling close to the Afghan border on Monday, killing 11 of them in an unusually bloody attack, a government official said.

The dead included a colonel and a captain in the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary unit that is being trained by a small contingent of American special forces soldiers.

Khyber government official Iqbal Khan said the convoy was returning from a mission in three vehicles when it was attacked not far from the main northwestern city of Peshawar. He said several of the attackers were killed, but gave no more details.

Pakistan’s tribal regions close to the Afghan border are home to al-Qaida and Taliban militants seeking to overthrow the U.S.-allied secular government and establish a hard-line Islamic state.

The Pakistani army has launched several operations in the remote and rugged region over the last 2 1/2 years, but the insurgents have proved a resilient foe. The army says more than 2,000 Pakistani soldiers have been killed there since 2001.

The United States and other Western nations are helping Pakistan because the region is a major global hub for foreign extremists. It is also used as a base to attack Western forces in Afghanistan.

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