At least three American soldiers were killed today and two others were wounded after a roadside bomb detonated in Lower Dir, part of the restive Swat Valley that the Pakistani military invaded last year at America’s behest. Over 50 other people were also wounded in the blast.
The US Embassy in Pakistan said the soldiers were in the region at the behest of the Frontier Corps (FC), Pakistan’s paramilitary group that operates in the tribal regions. They were attending the reopening of an all-girls high school, which was flattened in the blast.
Though it is well known that American troops are operating in Pakistan in a training capacity, the FC paramilitary convoy with which the troops were traveling were surprisingly secretive about the nature of the Americans, telling Pakistani journalists that they were “American journalists.” Initial bombing tolls listed the slain soldiers as “foreign journalists.”
The local Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) auxiliary, ostensibly destroyed during last year’s war, claimed credit for the bombing, and said that the US soldiers were indeed the target. Officially there are no US soldiers based in Pakistan, and only around 100 troops are reported to be there.