Six killed as militants target Pakistani security forces (Lead, changing dateline)

May 6th, 2008 - 8:57 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
Peshawar, May 6 (DPA) Six people, including three policemen, were killed Tuesday in two separate attacks by suspected pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), officials said. A suicide bomber, who was riding a motorcycle rickshaw, blew himself up when stopped by the police at a check post near a military base in Bannu district.

“Three people, including a policeman, embraced shahadat (martyrdom) while suicide bomber was killed in the blast,” an army statement said. Four others were also injured.

Separately, unknown gunmen opened fire on two policemen guarding a bank in Matta area of restive Swat district. Both died on the spot and the attacker managed to flee from the scene.

Both strikes mark the re-launch of attacks by pro-Taliban militants who suspended peace talks on April 28, only few weeks after those were started by the new government in a bid to revise President Pervez Musharraf’s hard-handed policy.

The rebels, who are based in country’s lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, said the government had declined to accept their demand for the withdrawal of troops from the region.

Pakistan’s tribal area is believed to have safe havens for Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters who fled to the territory after US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Initially, they launched cross-border attacks on NATO-led international forces.

But they turned to Pakistan when more than 100,000 troops moved to contain their activities in the border areas. More than 1,000 people died in suicide bombing campaign over the last 14 months.

The peace negotiations between pro-Taliban militants and Islamabad were not completely over. The sides were still in contact through tribal elders, a report in the daily News reported Tuesday.

Analysts believe the renewed attacks on the government troops were a strategic move by the rebels who want to put pressure on the government before the formal talks resume.

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