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Published: Wednesday March 5, 2014 MYT 9:00:02 PM
Updated: Wednesday March 5, 2014 MYT 9:00:57 PM

Roadside bomb kills six Pakistani soldiers as violence spirals

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A roadside bomb killed at least six soldiers on Wednesday as militant violence spiralled across Pakistan amid the government's increasingly futile efforts to engage the Pakistani Taliban in peace negotiations.

On Monday, gunmen burst into a court, killing at least 11 people in a rare suicide-bomb and gun attack in the heart of the usually quiet Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

Security officials said the six soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb near the north-western town of Hangu. No one immediately claimed responsibility.

The Pakistani Taliban, who have declared a month-long ceasefire to pursue peace talks with the government, have tried to distance themselves from recent attacks, but persistent violence shows they are not fully in control of its various factions.

A previously unknown group calling itself Ahrar-ul-Hind claimed responsibility for Monday's attack on the court.

The Pakistani Taliban, an alliance of militant groups, is fighting to overthrow the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and replace it with a state ruled under strict Islamic law.

Sharif has been pursuing peace talks since he was elected in May Last year.

Soon after the talks finally began on February 6, the Taliban bombed a police bus in Karachi, killing 13 people. Further difficulties ensued when a Taliban faction claimed to have killed 23 paramilitary forces.

(Reporting By Maria Golovnina; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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