Attack on convoy was revenge for Taliban leader killings

Jan. 19, 2014 at 2:29 PM

BANNU, Pakistan, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- The Pakistani Taliban on Sunday said an attack on a convoy that left 22 soldiers dead was revenge for the killing of Taliban leaders after peace talks.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Shahidullah Shahid issued a statement saying militants planted explosives in one of the trucks in the convoy, which detonated as the convoy left an army area in Bannu, the Indo-Asian News Service reported.

Twenty-two soldiers were killed in the blast and 30 others were injured. The explosion also destroyed 10 vehicles.

Shahid said the attack was revenge for the killing of Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud and his deputy Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud, who were killed "under the pretext of the dialogue."

Both leaders were killed by U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan.

"Our stance about the dialogue is very clear. If the government proves its powers and sincerity, we are ready for meaningful talks despite our great losses," Shahid said. "We are of the view that the government has no powers and sincerity in the talks, otherwise our senior leaders would not have been killed after the peace dialogue offer."

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