Taliban militants kill eight Pakistani soldiers

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 29, 2012 5:41 AM
Taliban militants kill eight Pakistani soldiers

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Taliban militants attacked an army post in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday killing eight soldiers, military sources said, challenging official assertions that offensives in the region had severely weakened insurgent groups.

Soldiers responded to the assault and killed 10 Taliban fighters, said a senior Pakistani military official in the region.

The attack in South Waziristan, which is on the Afghan border, came while the military faces pressure from Pakistani Taliban militants in Bajaur, another ethnic Pashtun tribal region which authorities have said was largely cleared of insurgents.

Military sources said four soldiers were killed in clashes in Bajaur and several were missing after Pakistani Taliban militants crossed the border from sanctuaries in Afghanistan and staged a raid. Fighting has raged there for several days.

Pakistan, a strategic U.S. ally, has been trying to break the back of its homegrown Taliban for several years. But the militants have proven resilient, staging suicide bombings and other attacks on the military and police.

This month, militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons fought their way into one of Pakistan's largest air bases in a brazen challenge to the nuclear-armed country's powerful military.

Pakistan's Taliban, who are close to al Qaeda, allied with the Afghan Taliban and seen as the biggest security threat to Pakistan, claimed responsibility for that assault.

(Reporting by Michael Georgy in ISLAMABAD, Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar and Saud Mehsud in DERA ISMAIL KHAN; Editing by Robert Birsel)