Attacks kill troops in Pakistan

Waziristan tribes scrap peace treaty while violence surges in Lal Masjid's aftermath.

    The soldiers were killed in an ambush
    while on patrol in the Swat valley [Reuters]

    Pakistani forces stormed the mosque and religious school compound a week later, killing an estimated 75 supporters of Lal Masjid's leaders, brothers Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi.
    Early on Sunday, 14 people, 11 of them paramilitary soldiers, were killed in a suicide-bomb ambush on a patrol in the Swat valley in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

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    Hours later, a suicide bomber targeted a police recruiting centre in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, in the same province, killing 18 and wounding 60, most of them young men taking a police entrance exam, hospital officials said.
    Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, the interior minister, told Geo TV: "The attacks in Swat and DI Khan could be linked to the Lal Masjid.
    "It's very difficult to stop suicide attacks."
    Security analysts had expressed fears of a violent backlash over the Lal Masjid assault.
    Many of the fighters at the mosque and many of the students who studied at the complex, were believed to have been from the NWFP.
    Twenty-four paramilitary soldiers were killed in a suicide car bomb attack in North Waziristan on Saturday, in the most serious single attack on security forces since November.
    Peace deal
    The collapse of the North Waziristan peace deal did not appear to be linked to the Lal Masjid assault, but is likely to add to the problems security forces are facing.
    Under the pact, the authorities agreed to stop operations against the tribes in return for their pledge to not send fighters into Afghanistan or launch attacks on security forces.
    While US military officials in Afghanistan said the pact had not stopped armed raids into Afghanistan, it did lead to a sharp fall in attacks on Pakistani forces in North Waziristan.

    Officials said the attacks may be
    linked to Lal Masjid [Reuters]

    A tribal leadership council said it was abandoning the pact because security forces had launched several attacks on them and the government had deployed more troops in the region.
    The council said in pamphlets that it would refuse all dialogue and co-operation with authorities after the government had failed to meet a Sunday deadline to abandon 25 new military checkpoints.
    The Pakistani army has been moving more troops into the tribal areas after Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, said last week he would crush extremists and "root them out from every corner of the country".
    Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan, said many analysts feel Musharraf is plotting a dangerous course in the region where the military is at risk of confronting its own people.

    Hyder said the president's policies are not going down well and there is a definite risk that attacks in the area will increase.

    General Assad Durrani, former head of Pakistani intelligence, told Al Jazeera: "If you look at the pattern of the last five to six years, ever since we joined the so-called 'war on terror', there have been enough warnings from the people of this area to suggest that there would be some reprisal attacks.

    "The warning from the president may be now ... but experts had already said many years ago that this was likely to happen."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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