Vol. 5 Num 1063 Tue. May 29, 2007  

6 killed in Pakistan militant violence

Taliban insurgents shot dead a military commander and a soldier in northwestern Pakistan on Monday hours after police killed four rebels in a firefight, officials said.

The unrest comes amid mounting concerns about the spread of a Taliban-led insurgency across the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan's lawless tribal belt and nearby regions.

The commander and the soldier died in separate ambushes while travelling on a road out of the restive town of Tank.

Gunmen hiding on both sides of the road sprayed bullets at the vehicle of Mir Wali Wazir, the local commander of a paramilitary unit, in a morning attack, senior police officer Mumtaz Tareen told AFP.

Hours later, gunmen fired at three more paramilitary vehicles, killing one trooper, a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Gunfire was still occurring, he added. Witnesses said that some 200 militants had taken positions outside Tank on the road.

Tank, a town of about 100,000 people, was the scene of bloody clashes between Taliban militants and security forces early this month that left eight people dead.

It was placed under curfew last month amid violence triggered by the killing of a militant leader following attempts to recruit school students to fight in Afghanistan.