Six killed in Pakistan suicide bombing


Islamabad : A suicide bomber killed six people, including four soldiers, in Pakistan’s tribal region bordering Afghanistan Saturday, as talks were held to free around 150 troops seized by pro-Taliban militants in the area, officials said.

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A car packed with explosives rammed a vehicle carrying Frontier Corps troops in the Bajaur tribal district, killing four soldiers and two civilians, said army spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad.

Three soldiers and four passers-by were wounded in the attack.

Meanwhile, a 21-member delegation of elders, clerics and local officials continued talks with fighters of the pro-Taliban Mehsud tribe in the neighbouring border district of South Waziristan for the release of troops captured Thursday.

The Frontier Corps and army soldiers were seized by a large force of militants that surrounded their convoy about 40 km south of Wana town.

The troops were being held in groups of around 30 at different locations in the mountainous region, a security official said on condition of anonymity.

But the government has not officially confirmed their capture.

Arshad told Pakistan’s Geo news channel that talks were underway with local tribesmen but that the troops were only “stranded” by bad weather, a position he has held since their disappearance was reported Thursday.

However, a spokesman for local rebel leader Baitullah Mehsud told BBC earlier that the troops were taken hostage because the government was not honouring a peace deal.

Pakistan’s tribal areas have experienced a rise in attacks on security forces since government troops stormed a radical mosque in Islamabad in July. Around 70 soldiers have died in clashes and bombings in recent weeks.