A roadside bomb targeting Pakistani troops killed six soldiers on Wednesday in the country’s northwest near the Afghan border, a local official said.
The explosion also wounded eight soldiers, said government official Javedullah Khan in the district of Hangu, where the incident took place, near the Lower Kurram tribal region.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Both local and foreign al-Qaeda-linked militant outfits operate in Pakistani tribal areas. Also, Pakistani Taliban have been waging a bloody war against the state, killing tens of thousands of people in a bid to overthrow the government and enforce their harsh brand of Islam.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has launched a dialogue with the militants but it was suspended due to continued Taliban attacks.
The Taliban have declared a month-long ceasefire to resume the talks, but one of its splinter groups which identified itself as Ahrarul Hind killed 11 people in a suicide bombing attack on Monday in Islamabad. The same day, a bombing killed two soldiers in the Khyber tribal region.
Wednesday’s attack underscored the perils of seeking peace with militants. Sharif’s government had set up a three-man committee to negotiate terms and conditions for a settlement with the local Taliban, who in return had nominated three representatives from their side.
Both sides held a couple of meetings in February without making any significant progress. On Feb. 17, the government committee refused to see the Taliban representatives after another Taliban faction killed 23 Pakistani soldiers who were held captive since 2010.
Since then, both sides were meeting the first time on Wednesday at a seminary run by Maulana Samiul Haq in the northwestern city of Akora Khattak. Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar and several of his top commanders are said to have studied at the seminary.
As the meeting got underway, local TV stations showed footage of members of the government committee and the Taliban representatives sitting in Haq’s house.