Suspected fighters in a Pakistani tribal region on the Afghan border ambushed a convoy of vehicles being escorted by security forces on Saturday, killing 18 people, including two women, witnesses said.
They opened fire on civilian vehicles in the convoy as it headed to the main northwestern city of Peshawar from Parachinar, the main town of the Pashtun-dominated Kurram region where the army has killed nearly 100 fighters in operations in the past months.
"Militants attacked the last two vehicles in the convoy with automatic weapons near Char Khel village, killing 18 people," said Jamshed Tori, who was also wounded in the attack.
A tribal leader, Mussrat Bangash, confirmed the toll and said two women were among the dead. An official had earlier told Reuters five people had been killed. The civilian convoy was being escorted by local militiamen.
The road linking Kurram with Peshawar often remains closed because of fighters and Pakistan army operations, forcing people to take a circuitous route through Afghanistan to travel to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and its capital, Peshawar.
Civilian convoys are increasingly asking for security to protect them.
Elsewhere, jet fighters killed 18 suspected fighters in strikes on Orakzai region on Saturday, security officials said. There was no independent verification and fighters often dismiss official casualty estimates.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 17 Temmuz 2010, 16:02