September 14, 2011 / 10:08 AM / in 7 years

Three Pakistan intelligence officials killed

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - Suspected Taliban militants killed three Pakistani military intelligence officials in a tribal region in the northwest on Wednesday, intelligence officials and police said.

The Pakistani Taliban, seen as the biggest security threat to the government, have become more brazen since their ally Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan in May.

The militants have carried out high-profile suicide bombings and attacked a major naval base and Western targets.

In Wednesday’s attack, militants ambushed a vehicle carrying officials from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), opening fire from several directions on a road in the tribal region of Bannu. One intelligence official was wounded.

“The vehicle belonged to the ISI and was attacked with Kalashnikovs. Three people were killed and one was critically wounded,” Sajjad Khan, a senior police official, told Reuters.

They were low-ranking ISI officials.

The ISI is Pakistan’s most powerful intelligence agency, often described as a state within a state. It sets security and foreign policy and oversees efforts to tackle militants fighting to topple the U.S.-backed government.

About 5,000 security forces and police have been killed since Pakistan joined the U.S.-led war on militancy after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Pakistani officials say.

The Taliban, who are close to al Qaeda, have recently focused on attacking pro-government tribes.

On Tuesday, the group claimed responsibility for a shooting attack on a school bus which killed five people, saying the children on the vehicle were from a pro-government tribe.

Reporting by Saud Mehsud; Writing by Augustine Anthony; editing by Michael Georgy and Jonathan Thatcher

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