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Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 12:42 UK

Pakistan troops 'taken hostage'

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Pro-Taleban militants say they are holding six soldiers in a tribal region in north-western Pakistan.

A spokesman for the militants said 24 other soldiers had been freed in Bajaur agency. The military says just one soldier was captured.

Elsewhere in the region a soldier was killed and at least two others wounded in an attack in the Swat Valley.

Violence in the region has increased in recent days after militants suspended peace talks with the government.

Tribal guarantees

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Karachi says the violence may be an attempt by the militants to put pressure on the authorities.

Since the weekend there have been a series of attacks in the north-west, including the first suicide bombing for several months.

That has led to questions being asked about a ceasefire officially still in place between the two sides.

Pakistan's new government has said it will deal with Islamic militancy through dialogue and development, despite previous accords creating "safe havens" for the Taleban and al-Qaeda.

The militants want the authorities to pull regular troops out of tribal areas near the Afghan border, as well as in other parts of the north-west.

In return, the authorities want tribal guarantees that they will stop sheltering foreign militants.


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