DERA ISLAMIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) – A suicide attack at a police station in northwestern Pakistan has killed an officer and wounded two civilians.
Police official Ghulam Farid said the bomber Saturday rammed an explosive laden vehicle into the wall of the station in Tank district.
He says at least two more people are believed to be buried in the rubble.
Tank is close to the Afghan border region of South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold where the Pakistan army began a major offensive in mid-October.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
PARACHINAR, Pakistan (AP) – Militants ambushed Pakistani security forces at checkpoints near the Afghan border Saturday, sparking gunbattles that left 22 insurgents and two troops dead, officials said.
Government officials Mohammad Yasin and Mohammad Naseem said two more troops were wounded in the clashes in the Orakzai and Kurram tribal regions. They said a search and clearance operation launched after the clashes also seized 25 suspected insurgents.
The force commander in Kurram, Col. Tausif Akhtar, told reporters the troops had cleared six villages of Taliban fighters. “We have also cut a main route the militants would use to enter the region,” he said.
Many militants fleeing a Pakistani military offensive in the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan have ended up in the two regions, where they often target government forces.
Washington has welcomed the military campaign but is pushing the Pakistani army to do more to target the Taliban blamed for violence across the border in Afghanistan. The Pakistani army has said it is too taxed to launch another operation right now.
“We have gone in Orakzai and Kurram because they were affecting our operations in South Waziristan,” Pakistani army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told DawnNews TV on Friday night. “We are too thin on the ground. We are too over stretched. It is not possible to get into any other area for operations.”
The army deployed some 30,000 troops against the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan in mid-October and has retaken many towns in the region. But many fear the militants have just set up in other parts of the vast, lawless border regions and will continue to threaten the Pakistani government and U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Saturday that a paramilitary soldier had been arrested for involvement in the Oct. 5 suicide attack the U.N. food agency’s office in Islamabad that killed five staffers.
Pakistani Taliban at the time had claimed responsibility for targeting the World Food Program, saying the agency’s work was not in “the interest of Muslims.”
Maik didn’t reveal identity of the man, but said he was also involved in the Dec. 2 suicide attack outside the entrance of Pakistan navy’s headquarters in Islamabad that killed one guard and wounded 11 other people.