DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani army colonel and two militants were killed Monday in a shootout during a pre-dawn raid in the country’s northwest, military and intelligence officials said.

In a statement, the military described the militants as “high-value” targets who were planning attacks. It said the raid took place on the outskirts of a town called Tank, and said weapons and explosives were found. It did not provide further details on the militants’ identities or affiliation.

Local intelligence officials gave the identity of the slain officer as army Col. Mujeeb Ur Rehman. The intelligence officials said the slain militants belonged to the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. The group had a strong presence in the region until recent years, when the army killed or arrested most of its members in series of operations.

Tank is a strategic town in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, which has witnessed dozens of militant attacks in recent years, most claimed by the Pakistani Taliban.

Militants have recently been trying to regroup in the region, raising fears among residents because of the increased army operations against the insurgents. Pakistan is currently constructing a 2,611-kilometer (1,622-mile) fence along its border with Afghanistan in an effort to check militant movement.