ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, (AP) – A suicide car bomber attacked an army post in northwest Pakistan on Monday, killing at least three people, while violence elsewhere in the region left at least five suspected militants dead.
Pakistan is engaged in a pair of major offensives against militants who use pockets of the northwest to stage attacks on American and NATO forces across the border in Afghanistan. Insurgents have retaliated over the offensives by staging a wave of attacks throughout Pakistan.
The suicide attack Monday happened in Gashkor, a village in the Swat Valley, said police official Ali Rehman. Swat, a former tourist destination, is the scene of one of the two offensives.
The other offensive is focused on Bajur, a tribal region bordering Afghanistan that is a rumored hiding place of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Security forces used artillery fire to kill at least five suspected insurgents in parts of Bajur overnight, said Jamil Khan, a No. 2 government representative in the area. The military claims to have killed 1,600 insurgents in Bajur since August.
Pakistan faces a rising militant threat at the same time its economy is sinking.
The Muslim nation is turning to the International Monetary Fund for a $7.6 billion bailout package but it also hoped for additional assistance from a newly formed group called “Friends of Pakistan,” which was to consider proposals later Monday in Abu Dhabi.
The U.S. and China are among the group’s members.