Asia

Abducted Pakistan paramilitary troops found shot dead

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At least 10 paramilitary troops have been found shot dead in a volatile tribal area of north-west Pakistan, security officials say.

The men were abducted last month from the Orakzai region after militants attacked a military post.

Local officials say the bullet-riddled bodies of the men were found in a ravine close to the town of Dabori. It is unclear when they were killed.

Last week the Taliban killed 15 tribal police they had abducted last month.

The soldiers, who were members of Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Corps, had been missing since 21 December when 23 soldiers were attacked by up to 100 heavily-armed militants, a security official quoted by the AFP news agency said.

The recent violence comes amid media speculation that there have been peace talks between elements of the Taliban and the Pakistani government.

The Pakistani Taliban is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians and security personnel over the past few years, but there has not been a major militant attack in the country for several months.

The army has several anti-militant operations ongoing in the tribal areas close to the Afghan border.

The US has put pressure Pakistan to step up the fight against those militants in north-west Pakistan who launch attacks in Afghanistan, and in recent months has accused parts of Pakistan's security establishment of backing such insurgents.

Pakistan has vehemently denied the charges, adding that the country faces significant internal threats from militancy.