At least nine Pakistani soldiers were killed on Sunday when a roadside bomb hit an army convoy passing through the troubled region of North Waziristan near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, authorities said.
The roadside bomb exploded in a village near Miran Shah, the main town in the tribal area, the army said in a statement. At least 21 soldiers were also wounded, military sources told the news agency Reuters
Armed groups including the Taliban and al-Qaeda operate in the volatile tribal region, often launching attacks on troops and civilians from mountain hideouts on the porous border.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast.
Pakistan has been dragging its feet in launching a military offensive against armed groups in the region, saying its forces are already too stretched fighting groups in other tribal areas along the border.
The outgoing Pakistani government of President Zardari carried out several military offensives against the rebels. The newly elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has a stated policy that it will give priority to a peace dialogue instead fighting them.
US drone strikes often target insurgents in lawless and inaccessible North Waziristan, home to both homegrown and foreign armed groups.
On Saturday, at least three foreign fighters were killed in a suspected US drone strike in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, local officials said. Pakistan, which opposes the pilotless attacks, condemned the latest strike.