Roadside bomb kills nine soldiers in NWA
02 September, 2013
MIRANSHAH: At least nine soldiers were killed on Sunday when a roadside bomb hit an army convoy passing through the troubled region of North Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan, security sources said.
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. Militant groups including the Taliban and al Qaeda operate in the volatile tribal region, often launching attacks on troops and civilians from mountain hideouts on the porous border. US drone strikes often target insurgents in lawless and inaccessible North Waziristan, home to both homegrown and foreign militants.
On Saturday, at least three foreign militants were killed in a suspected US drone strike in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, local officials said. Pakistan condemned the latest strike. A senior security official told AFP that the bomb hit a convoy of up to 20 vehicles carrying regular soldiers and members of the paramilitary Frontier Corps to Miranshah from the Datta Khel area. Another security official confirmed the toll.
The Sunday attack was among several IED blasts in the agency during recent months. Dozens of army soldiers have been killed and several injured in IED blasts in the agency. After the military operations in the tribal areas most of the banned outfits have changed their tactics and are using IEDs to target security forces' convoys in the troubled areas, especially in Khyber, North Waziristan, and Orakzai agencies.
According to sources, a convoy of military vehicles was travelling from Datakhel to Miramshah when it was struck by a remotely-detonated bomb which was planted on the roadside in Boya area of North Waziristan tribal region. The victims were shifted to the Combined Military Hospital. A militant group, Ansaral Mujahideen, has claimed the responsibility for the attack.
Abu Baseer, spokesman of Ansaral Mujahideen, while speaking from an undisclosed place on telephone said that the army officials were attacked to avenge the drone attacks by the US. He said that they would continue retaliatory attacks until the US carries on drone strikes. Baseer also said that the group was sure that the drone attacks were being carried out with the consent of the establishment, therefore it has launched attacks as a revenge. He said that in the future, the attacks would not be limited to North Waziristan Agency, and other parts of the country would also be targeted.
Pakistan is battling a Taliban-led domestic insurgency that has killed thousands of civilians and security personnel since 2007. Troops have been fighting for years against homegrown insurgents in the tribal belt, which Washington also considers 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. A drone strike on Saturday on a compound in the Heso Khel area killed at least four militants.