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Seven soldiers killed in Pak tribal area

Twenty-two others were injured when militants ambushed a convoy in a restive tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 12:14 IST

At least seven Pakistani paramilitary troops were killed and 22 injured on Thursday when militants ambushed a convoy in a restive tribal area bordering Afghanistan, the military said.

The soldiers were securing the route when they were attacked in Sarobi village, 17 kilometres north of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, chief military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said.

"The attackers used nearby heights and attacked the security forces. There are seven (martyred) and 22 injured," Sultan told the agency.

"Security forces are now responding and the area is now secured."

Security officials in the area, speaking on condition of anonymity, said earlier that 26 soldiers were injured.

Pakistan says it has deployed 80,000 troops in its lawless tribal belt to hunt militants who sneaked across the rugged frontier after Afghanistan's hardline Taliban regime was toppled by US-led forces in late 2001.

North Waziristan and neighbouring South Waziristan have seen major clashes over the past two and a half years.

Fierce battles flared again last month, leaving around 250 insurgents and five soldiers dead, the military said.

So-called Pakistani Taliban have taken virtual control of some parts of the tribal areas, setting up parallel justice and administrative systems based on harsh Islamic Sharia law, military and security sources say.

First Published: Apr 20, 2006 12:14 IST