Jan 07,2008 00:00
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's efforts at a truce with pro-Taliban militants in tribal areas were thwarted Monday with the killings of eight tribal elders.
The elders, who were seeking to broker a truce with the help of a local tribe, were gunned down in two separate incidents in Wana and in the nearby town of Shkai, the Press Trust of India reported quoting a Pakistani military news release.
The shootings occurred hours before a jirga or tribal council was to be convened in Tank City.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The area is known as a stronghold of pro-Taliban and al-Qaida forces and has been the scene of major operations by the Pakistani armed forces in recent months.
The area is the stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, who now leads a coalition of Pakistani Taliban groups. The Pakistan government of President Pervez Musharraf suspects Mehsud for masterminding the Dec. 27 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.