Pakistan Troops Missing After Taliban Attack

Pakistan Troops Missing After Taliban Attack

Helicopter gunships pounded militant hideouts in northwest Pakistan Wednesday, killing 10 suspected militants after gunmen killed two paramilitary soldiers at a checkpoint in the area, authorities said.

The gunmen also wounded three soldiers when they attacked the checkpoint Tuesday evening outside the city in Mohmand Bai Zai said an intelligence official and a local official. Security forces have been unable to establish contact with 10 other soldiers who were on checkpoint at the time of the attack, they said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The helicopter attack on militants hiding in Bai Zai came as the army is fighting an important battle against the Taliban offensive against the main stronghold of the group, further south in the semi-autonomous Pakistani tribal areas. The militants have retribution against the offensive in South Waziristan with a wave of bombings that have killed more than 300 people since the operation began in mid-October.

A suicide bomber attacked a crowded market in northwestern Pakistan Tuesday, killing 26 people and wounded 72 others, said police officer Rokha Zeb. The attack in the town of Charsadda was the fourth in a month to arrive at a crowded market in the North West Frontier Province, adjoining tribal areas of Pakistan.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for bombings of the market, but authorities have blamed the Taliban, which has taken credit for similar attacks that have targeted security forces and officials.

Taliban seem to expect the attacks to weaken the resolve of the army in South Waziristan, but officials have repeatedly said they will not stop.

"We are fully committed and it is our determination to eradicate terrorism," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters in Islamabad Wednesday. "It is a challenge for us and accept the challenge because this is the first task for the government to protect lives and property of people."

The United States has urged the government to continue in South Waziristan, because Pakistan's tribal belt areas are home to many Taliban and al Qaeda militants involved in attacks on Western troops on the border with Afghanistan.


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