Militants kill four in northwest Pakistan

Pakistani policemen stand guard near a destroyed Islamic seminary belonging to the Haqqani network after a US drone strike in the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on November 21, 2013 (AFP Photo/Sb Shah)

Militants attacked a check post in northwest Pakistan Monday and shot dead four people including three policemen, police said.

The incident happened in the town of Hangu, 120 kilometres (74 miles) southwest of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

"At least four militants riding a car stopped at a police check post and three of them opened fire killing three policemen and a passer-by," district police chief Anwar Saeed Kundi told AFP.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack so far but Taliban insurgents have waged war against the state in the restive northwest, targeting government installations and killing civilians and security personnel.

Separately, two soldiers were killed and another wounded by a bomb targeting a military convoy in Speenwam area on the border between North Waziristan tribal region and the town of Bannu on Saturday, security officials said.

Pakistan began a long-awaited push to clear militant bases from North Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan, in June after a bloody attack on Karachi airport finally sank faltering peace talks with the rebels.

Air strikes, artillery, mortars and ground troops have been used to retake territory in the district, which had become a haven for fighters with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant outfits.

The semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Afghan border have for years been a hideout for Islamist militants of all stripes -- including Al-Qaeda and the homegrown TTP as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.

Washington pressed Islamabad for years to take action to wipe out rebel sanctuaries in North Waziristan, which militants have used to launch attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan's army says it has killed more than a thousand militants and lost 86 soldiers since the start of the operation.