Bomb blast kills 17 Pak soldiers

A roadside bomb killed as many as 17 Pakistani soldiers in the northern border region of North Waziristan on Sunday, military officials said, a day after the Pakistani Taliban leader called for attacks on the military in the area to stop.

The explosion occurred on a road about 50 km south of the provincial capital of Miranshah. Twenty-one soldiers were wounded in the attack, senior army officials said.

On Saturday, Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, had circulated a leaflet calling for an end to the Taliban's infrequent attacks on Pakistani soldiers in North Waziristan.

Thousands of Pakistani soldiers are stationed in North Waziristan. The ceasefire did not apply to the rest of the country, where there are often fierce clashes between the Taliban and security services.

The mountainous tribal region of North Waziristan along the Afghan border is a key stronghold of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. South Waziristan is under the control of the Wazir tribe, who have a peace deal with the Pakistani military.

It was unclear if the leaflet was related to rumours of splits in the movement. It called on local and foreign fighters to unite because “the enemy is trying to divide and rule us”.

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