Pro-Taliban militants kidnapped 16 Pakistani paramilitary troops, while 12 guerrillas were killed as security forces repelled an attack on a checkpoint in Pakistan's restive tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, officials said.
The soldiers from the Frontier Corps were abducted on Thursday near Jandoola, 50 km from Wana, the main town in the tribal district of South Waziristan.
"Our troops have launched a search operation in the area," military spokesman Major General Arshad Waheed said.
Meanwhile, military gunships bombarded a group of Islamic combatants that was fleeing after an attack on a security checkpoint near Miranshah, the main town in the tribal region of North Waziristan.
"At least 12 insurgents were killed, while five soldiers were wounded," Arshad said.
Militants have launched a series of retaliatory attacks on Pakistan's security forces in recent weeks after the military stormed Islamabad's radical Red Mosque in July, killing more than 300 people.
The attacks took place as the country is under growing US pressure to stamp out militant and terrorist bases in its tribal areas, which are believed to serve as a staging area for raids against Western and government forces in Afghanistan.
Speculation of a possible US strike in Pakistan has risen since the US intelligence community reported last month that Al Qaeda was regaining strength by seeking refuge in the remote and mountainous tribal region of Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan.
"I have indicated to him (President Pervez Musharraf) that the American people would expect there to be swift action taken if there's actionable intelligence on high-value targets inside his country," US President George W Bush said on Thursday at a White House press conference.