At least 12 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in a series of bomb blasts and an exchange of fire with fighters in the northwest region of the country.
The blasts hit a convoy of police and paramilitary troops as they passed through the town of Matta near Swat, an area where the Taliban has strong support.
Sunday’s attack comes a day after a suicide bomber killed at least 18 Pakistani soldiers in the tribal region of North Waziristan on the Afghan border.
The Pakistani army has been moving in more troops into the tribal areas after Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, vowed last week to crush extremists and “root themÂ out from every corner of the country”.
Eight people were killed by suicide blasts on Thursday, followed by a Pakistani police discovery of a car packed with seven suicide vests, 100 mortar shells and other explosives in northwestern Dera Ismail Khan town on Friday.
Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, has provoked anger in the region after this week’s army assault on a mosque complex in Islamabad that left at least 86 people dead.
Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Pakistan, says many analysts feel Musharraf is plotting a dangerous course in the region where the military is at risk of confronting its own people.
Hyder says his policies are not going down well and there is a definite risk that attacks in the area will increase.