Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

Pakistan rocket attack 'kills 10'


People sift through the rubble after the rocket attack

Suspected Taleban militants have fired three rockets at a security force base in north-western Pakistan, killing 10 people, officials say.

The attack took place in Landi Kotal town in the Khyber tribal agency, near the Afghan border, on Thursday night.

The deaths occurred when one of the rockets hit a commercial area in the town. At least 40 people were injured.

The town is on a road connecting Peshawar to Afghanistan - a key supply route for US and Western forces.

Pakistan has been carrying out an offensive in Khyber to drive militants away from the outskirts of Peshawar for the past few months.

Supply attacks

A local official told the BBC that suspected militants had attacked a paramilitary camp in Landi Kotal with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles at about 2100 (1600GMT).

This led to an intense exchange of fire between the militants and security forces, he said.


Militants fired several rockets at the camp from the surrounding hills. There were no direct hits but at least one soldier was injured, the official said.

During the exchange, a rocket fell on a commercial building. Other rockets fell in an open area, officials say, and caused no casualties.

"The rescue effort continued overnight amid intense gunfire," local administration official Azam Jan told the AFP news agency.

Security forces have launched a hunt for the attackers, officials said.

Landi Kotal is about 10km (six miles) from the Afghan border. The town lies in Pakistan's tribal region on a key road where militants have carried out a series of attacks on trucks carrying supplies to US and Nato troops in Afghanistan.

Militants have set hundreds of vehicles and containers on fire.

Rising Taleban attacks have led to doubts among Nato commanders about the reliability of crucial supply routes through Pakistan, prompting the US and Nato to set up other options including central Asia.

It is estimated that Afghan-based US and Nato forces get up to three-quarters of their supplies through Pakistani routes.

But US and Nato officials insist the attacks have had little effect on their operations.

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