གཟའ་ཉི་མ། ༢༠༢༤/༠༥/༡༩

Suicide Attack Kills 4 Pakistani Soldiers

A suicide bomb attack has killed at least four Pakistani soldiers in the country's volatile tribal region near the Afghan border. The attack underscores growing concerns that a government-brokered peace agreement with local militants has collapsed. VOA correspondent Benjamin Sand reports from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

The attack occurred Monday morning near a military checkpoint just outside Mirin Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal area.

Military spokesman General Shaukat Sultan told reporters a suicide car bomber evidently rammed his vehicle into a government convoy as it passed.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the area is widely considered a key safe haven for pro-Taleban extremists.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but the area is widely considered a key safe haven for pro-Taleban extremists.

Fighting throughout the tribal region has killed hundreds of people since 2003, when the government launched a massive operation to secure the area.

There had been a significant improvement in security after the army signed a controversial peace agreement with militants in North Waziristan last September.

But fresh tensions emerged last week after a government air strike destroyed a suspected al Qaida camp in nearby South Waziristan.

Monday's attack is sparking fresh concerns that local militants are no longer observing the peace accord.

There is also mounting evidence that extremists are using the deal to establish virtual sanctuaries inside the tribal areas.

Security analysts in Pakistan say Islamic extremists in North Waziristan have significantly expanded their activities and influence since the accords were signed.

And U.S. officials say cross border attacks by Taleban insurgents have jumped more than 200 percent since September.