| PESHAWAR, Pakistan July 18
PESHAWAR, Pakistan July 18 Militants killed
eight members of a government paramilitary force in a midnight
attack on a security checkpoint in Pakistan's restive northwest,
security officials said Friday.
The militants bombarded the checkpoint with rocket-propelled
grenades, two senior military officials said, before overrunning
and ransacking it. Local residents said the gunfire began around
midnight and continued for at least two hours.
The attack, for which no militant group has so far claimed
responsibility, comes amid a military offensive to push the
Taliban out of North Waziristan, a remote northwestern region
near the border with Afghanistan.
NATO has long urged the military to take action against
Taliban safe havens in North Waziristan, where many groups had
bases they used to launch attacks in Afghanistan.
North Waziristan was considered the key stronghold of the
Taliban after other areas in Pakistan had been mostly cleared of
But residents say most militants moved out before the
Pakistani army announced its offensive last month, raising fears
that they may now be beefing up their presence in other areas.
"The militants displaced from North Waziristan have returned
to the Khyber agency and started attacks on security forces,"
said one security official.
The Khyber Agency is part of the semiautonomous areas where
tribal law holds sway instead of Pakistan's judicial system, and
the government is represented by a political agent.
Eight members of the state-run Frontier Corps men were
killed and three others injured in the attack in the region's
Khyber is about 48 km (30 miles) north of North Waziristan,
and also borders Afghanistan.
(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)