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Page last updated at 10:52 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 11:52 UK

Pakistan troops killed in Kashmir

An army helicopter flies over Pakistani soldiers in a military base on top of a hill in Chupria, in the upper Swat Valley, Pakistan, Saturday, June 20, 2009
The army has been targeting militants in Pakistan's Swat valley

At least two soldiers have been killed and three others wounded by a suicide blast in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, officials say.

The Taliban has said it carried out the attack, the AP news agency reported.

Militants have launched deadly attacks on soldiers across Pakistan, but it is thought to be the first such bombing in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

The army is engaged in an intense battle to dislodge the Taliban from strongholds in the north-west.

The Pakistani Taliban fighting the army in the north-west have no obvious presence in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, our correspondent says.

Security tight

The bomber targeted soldiers in Shaukat Lines, a military area in Muzaffarabad, the regional capital. He was described as about 18 years of age.

The attacker hit an army vehicle in an area which is used for residential purposes, a military spokesman said.

Witnesses told the BBC that the bomber walked up to a gate near the residences of junior officers, and engaged the guard in a conversation.

Other soldiers gathered at the scene, after which the bomber detonated the explosives, the witnesses said.

Security was tightened immediately after the explosion and an investigation was under way.

Widening offensive

The Pakistani army has recently widened its offensive to include assaults on South Waziristan, considered the stronghold of Pakistan's Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Hakimullah Mehsud, a deputy of the Pakistani Taliban leader, claimed responsibility for the attack and said they were to prove that Baitullah Mehsud had not been weakened by the recent onslaught.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan says that the Taliban are hitting what is seen by many as a "soft" target in Muzaffarabad.

The purpose appears to be to widen the threat of militant attacks.



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