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Two soldiers killed in Pakistan suicide attack: officials

world Updated: Aug 15, 2009 11:46 IST

AFP
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At least two soldiers were killed in a suicide attack in Pakistan's northwestern Swat valley on Saturday, officials said.
The attack took place near a military checkpost in Waliabad village in Charbagh town in the Swat valley, where the military has been battling against Taliban insurgents.

"A suicide bomber blew up his vehicle near a military checkpost in Waliabad village, killing at least two soldiers," a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Swat police chief Iqbal Mohmand confirmed the attack and said that five people, most of them soldiers, were also wounded in the attack.

The Pakistani army launched an offensive in late April to dislodge Taliban guerrillas from the districts of Buner, Lower Dir and Swat after rebels flouted a peace deal and marched further south towards the capital Islamabad.

Swat slipped out of government control after radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah mounted a violent campaign in which his followers beheaded opponents, burnt schools and fought against government troops to enforce sharia law.

Pakistan says more than 1,800 militants and over 160 security personnel have been killed in the offensive since late April but the death tolls are impossible to verify independently.

Last month Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced that the military had "eliminated" extremists. According to government figures, 385,000 civilians have returned out of 1.9 million people displaced by the fighting.

But skirmishes have continued, raising fears that the Taliban are regrouping in the mountains, a tactic militants have adopted after previous offensives.