MIRANSHAH: At least nine Pakistani servicemen were killed yesterday when a roadside bomb hit an army convoy passing through the troubled region of North Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan, security sources said.
The incident happened in the Boya area of North Waziristan, a stronghold of militants linked to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Rebels often launch attacks on troops and civilians from mountain hideouts on the porous border.
Initially, army sources said three soldiers had been killed but later a security official in the regional town of Miranshah raised the death toll to nine.
At least 21 soldiers were wounded, the official said, adding the bomb was an improvised explosive device.
He said the bomb hit a convoy of up to 20 vehicles carrying regular soldiers and members of the paramilitary Frontier Corps to the town of Miranshah from the Datta Khel area.
US drone strikes often target insurgents in lawless and inaccessible North Waziristan, home to homegrown and foreign militants.
On Saturday, at least three foreign militants were killed in a suspected drone strike in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, local officials said. Pakistan, which opposes the pilotless attacks, condemned the latest strike. “These unilateral strikes are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a Foreign Ministry statement said. It said Pakistan had repeatedly emphasized the importance of ending drone strikes.
The attack came a day after Pakistan announced to formally lodge its protest on US drone attacks in the UN General Assembly session next month.
Islamabad is battling a Taliban-led domestic insurgency that has killed thousands of civilians and security personnel since 2007.
The US considers the tribal belt the main hub of Taliban and Al Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.
North Waziristan is frequently targeted by US drones. AFP