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Blast Targeting Military in Northwest Pakistan Kills 30

  • VOA News

Authorities in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province say a roadside blast targeting a military truck has killed at least 30 people, mostly soldiers.

Officials say the attack occurred Thursday near Mingora in the remote Swat valley region.

They say the bomb detonated near the truck and that the explosives and ammunition inside the vehicle intensified the blast. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Local Swat official Fazlur Rehman told VOA up to 45 soldiers were on board the vehicle, and that all of them may have been killed.

The attack took place just days after some two thousand troops were deployed to the region to deal with rising violence by pro-Taliban insurgents.

The military says the forces are to help local authorities ensure security. But Rehman said there are rumors of a military operation.

The valley in the conservative Northwest Frontier Province is a stronghold of the banned radical group, Tehrik Nifaz-e-Sharia Mohammed, which has close ties to Afghanistan's Taliban militants.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf banned the group and jailed its founder (Sufi Mohammad) in 2002, after it sent thousands of volunteers to Afghanistan to fight U.S.-led forces that ousted Taliban rulers.

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