Militants Attack Army Posts in Pak’s Tribal Region, 23 Killed

At least 20 insurgents and 3 soldiers were killed when a number of militants assaulted three army posts in a tribal region that serves as the primary base for Pakistan’s Taliban chief, said intelligence officials.

The attack came amid whispers of Pakistan army’s possibility of launching an offensive in South Waziristan, a rugged, remote region along the Afghan border where al-Qaida and the Taliban have long had strongholds.

In the meanwhile, one person was killed and 35 others were injured when a bomb exploded in the toilet of a passenger train which was the move from Quetta to Karachi in the southwest of the country, said police official Shamar Ali Magsi.

According to reports, the responsibility of the blast was taken by the Baluch Republican Army, a nationalist group which is fighting a low-level insurgency for greater autonomy for Baluchistan province and a bigger share of its oil revenues.

It should be noted that such attacks have gone up considerably in past two weeks and are being blamed on militants who pledged a campaign of bombing in revenge for the army offensive on Taliban.
Army officials maintain that assaults on security personnel in South Waziristan by Taliban militants are their attempts to distract the army from its operation in Swat where at least 1,300 militants have been killed since late April.

The coordinated attacks early Thursday targeted bases in Jandola, Chakmalai and Splitoi towns in South Waziristan, said two intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media. The militants used rockets and guns, prompting troops to return fire, the officials said.

No army spokesman could immediately be reached to confirm the incident, and few other details were available. Journalists are heavily restricted from traveling to the region, and its dangerous nature further complicates independently verifying information from there.

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