Taliban militants attacked a military convoy in the North Waziristan tribal region on Saturday, killing five soldiers and wounding three others, security officials said.
The convoy came under attack near Razmak Town, more than 50 kilometres south of Miramshah, the main town in the North Waziristan along the Afghan border, officials said.
“The convoy was moving from one area to another when Taliban militants attacked it, killing five soldiers and wounding three others,” a security official in Peshawar told AFP. The bodies of the soldiers were taken to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in nearby Bannu town of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Another security official in Miramshah confirmed the incident, saying that the militants were armed with rockets and automatic weapons. “They also hurled grenades in the attack,” the official said.
Troops retaliated immediately with small and heavy weapons but there was no report of Taliban casualties, he added.
Earlier this month, tribal militants had ambushed a paramilitary convoy in the Bara subdivision of Khyber Agency. Five soldiers were killed in that attack.
North Waziristan Agency is the main target of US drone campaign which, the US believes, is the most notorious bastion of the Haqqani network, the deadliest of all Afghan Taliban groups, and their tribal and al Qaeda allies.
The US alleges that the Haqqani network and its allies have been using the region as a springboard for attacks on US-led Nato forces fighting a deadly Taliban insurgency in neighbouring Afghanistan for the past 10 years now.
Washington has been pressing Islamabad to launch a military operation in North Waziristan Agency the way it did in other tribal regions and parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa against homegrown Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). US officials have blamed Pakistan for harbouring the Haqqanis – a charge strongly denied by Islamabad.
But in an interesting twist in US policy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly did not press Pakistan to go after the Haqqanis in North Waziristan Agency. “We are not asking Pakistan to invade North Waziristan (Agency). What we want is for this Haqqani threat to be eliminated, either through the use of force, or by other means,” a US diplomat had told The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2011.