Bomb kills 14 Pakistani soldiers in North Waziristan

Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:54am EST
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By Haji Mujtaba

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (Reuters) - A roadside bomb killed as many as 14 Pakistani soldiers in the northern border region of North Waziristan on Sunday, military officials said, a day after the Pakistani Taliban leader called for attacks on the military in the area to stop.

The explosion occurred on a road about 50 km (30 miles) south of the provincial capital of Miranshah. Twenty-one soldiers were wounded in the attack, senior army officials said.

A spokesman for the Mujahideen Ansar, a group dominated by Uzbek fighters, claimed responsibility and told Reuters the attack was retaliation for the Pakistani army's complicity in drone strikes. The group is allied to Pakistan Taliban fighters.

Pakistan frequently protest publicly about U.S. drone strikes but has not taken any legal steps to end them.

On Saturday, Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), had circulated a leaflet calling for an end to the Taliban's infrequent attacks on Pakistani soldiers in North Waziristan.

Thousands of Pakistani soldiers are stationed in North Waziristan.

The ceasefire did not apply to the rest of the country, where there are often fierce clashes between the Taliban and security services.

The mountainous tribal region of North Waziristan along the Afghan border is a key stronghold of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. South Waziristan is under the control of the Wazir tribe, who have a peace deal with the Pakistani military.   Continued...