Three soldiers and 20 insurgents were killed Friday when members of the Pakistani Taliban attacked a military checkpoint in the northwestern tribal region of Orakzai, Dawn newspaper said.

The clash also left 15 troops and 13 insurgents wounded, unnamed sources told the daily.

The assault on the checkpoint was the response of the Pakistani Taliban, known as the TTP, to the death earlier this week of its second-in-command in a U.S. drone strike, the sources said.

The killing of Wali ur Rehman destroyed any chance of dialogue with the government, TTP spokesman Ehsanula Ehsan told Dawn on Thursday.

"On one side the government of Pakistan advocates for peace talks, and on the other it conspires with the United States and kills Taliban leaders," the spokesman said.

For the last two years, Orakzai and the neighboring tribal regions of Khyber and Kurram have been a battleground for government forces and various Pakistani and Afghan militant groups. EFE