Roadside bomb kills 14 Pakistani soldiers
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan A roadside bomb hit a Pakistani army convoy Sunday in a mountainous northwestern militant stronghold, killing 14 soldiers and wounding 20 others, intelligence officials said.
It was one of the deadliest attacks ever against the army in the North Waziristan tribal area, a major trouble spot that the military has been reluctant to tackle. The remote area is home to Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda militants at war with the government. But it is also used as a sanctuary by other militants who have focused their attacks in neighboring Afghanistan rather than Pakistan.
The Pakistani military is worried that attempting to target its enemies in North Waziristan could trigger a backlash whereby other militants in the area turn against Pakistan. The most powerful group in the area, the Afghan Haqqani network, is also believed to be seen by the army as a potential ally in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw, making a military offensive even more complicated.
The attack Sunday occurred near Dosalli village in North Waziristan, said Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. The blast completely destroyed two vehicles and damaged a third, they said.
The dead and wounded were brought to a military hospital in the nearby town of Miran Shah, said the officials.
Pakistani military officials confirmed the bombing but said four soldiers were killed and 11 others wounded.
It's unclear whether the attack will change the army's stance on conducting an offensive in North Waziristan.
The area has been a sore point in relations between Pakistan and the United States. Washington has repeatedly pushed Islamabad to launch an operation in North Waziristan, especially against the Haqqani network, which is seen as one of the most dangerous groups fighting in Afghanistan. But Pakistan has so far refused.
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