MIRANSHAH, (AFP) — A bomb attack killed three Pakistani soldiers and wounded another 15 on Tuesday, striking a military convoy in the restive district of North Waziristan, security officials said.
The officials said the bomb was detonated by remote-control near Miranshah, the main town in the tribal district, where Pakistan is under huge US pressure to launch an offensive against the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network.
The device exploded soon after the convoy left for the town of Datta Khel, ripping through a truck carrying army and paramilitary troops.
“Three soldiers were killed and 15 wounded,” an intelligence official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Another security official in the main northwestern city of Peshawar confirmed the attack and the casualties.
The bomb was planted in a drain near the market in Miranshah and exploded at a time when authorities had imposed a routine curfew so the military convoy could go past, the second official said.
In the neighbouring district of South Waziristan, a paramilitary soldier was killed when Taliban militants attacked a checkpost in the Makeen area, security officials in the main northwestern city of Peshawar said.
Pakistan has been under huge pressure to do more to destroy militant sanctuaries, particularly in North Waziristan, since US Navy SEALs found and killed Osama bin Laden in the town of Abbottabad on May 2.
But military commanders argue that any operation should be of their choosing, arguing that its 140,000 troops already committed to the northwest are too overstretched fighting a homegrown insurgency to take on the Haqqanis.
On Monday, the military announced the start of an operation in Kurram designed to clear out militants and suicide bombers who have taken refuge there, and open up the main road dissecting the tribal district.
Few details have emerged, however, of how the campaign is progressing.