PESHAWAR: Police say gunmen fired on a vehicle escorting paramilitary troops through a Pakistani district recently infiltrated by the Taliban.
The troops were among those deployed Wednesday to protect government buildings and bridges in Buner, a district near the capital of Islamabad.
The deployment followed the movement of the Taliban from neighboring Swat Valley into Buner district in recent days.
Thursday's attack could heighten uncertainty about a peace deal reached with the Taliban in Swat that appears to have emboldened the extremists to extend their reach.
Area police chief Hukam Khan says a police officer was killed and one was wounded in Buner. Khan refused to speculate on the identity of the gunmen.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani paramilitary forces have been deployed to protect government buildings and bridges in a district near the capital that has been infiltrated by the Taliban, an official said Thursday.
The six Frontier Constabulary platoons arrived in northwestern Buner on Wednesday, days after militants from the neighboring Swat Valley began entering the area in large numbers — establishing checkpoints, patrolling roads and spreading fear.
The Taliban movement into Buner, which is about 60 miles (97 kilometers) from Islamabad, came after the provincial government agreed to impose Islamic law in Swat and surrounding areas in exchange for peace with the insurgents.
The U.S. and other critics warn the deal will embolden extremists to expand their presence in the northwest regions near Afghanistan.
"I think the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told lawmakers in a hearing Wednesday in Washington.
It was not immediately clear if the Frontier Constabulary forces deployed were aimed at driving the Taliban from Buner.
Syed Mohammed Javed, a government official who oversees the area covered by the peace deal, confirmed the deployment but would not say if it was in direct response to the Taliban. He said tribal elders were meeting to assess the situation.
Javed did not specify the number of troops involved, but a platoon typically has 30 to 50 members.
Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the Pakistan Army's chief spokesman, insisted the situation was not as dire as portrayed — saying militants were in control of less than 25 percent of Buner, mostly its north.
"We are fully aware of the situation," Abbas said. "The other side has been informed to move these people out of this area."
Pakistan's army has thousands of troops in Swat but none in Buner. Many police and government officials in Buner appear to have either fled or are keeping a low profile.
A police official, speaking anonymously out to fear, told the AP that the militants in Buner were broadcasting sermons by radio about Islam and are warning barbers to stop shaving men's beards.
The militants have established a base in the village of Sultanwas and have set up positions in the nearby hills, the official said.
Istiqbal Khan, a lawmaker from Buner, said the insurgents have established checkpoints and patrols.
President Asif Ali Zardari signed off on the peace pact last week in hopes of calming Swat, where some two years of clashes between the Taliban and security forces have killed hundreds and displaced up to a third of the one-time tourist haven's 1.5 million residents.
The militants in Swat agreed to a cease-fire. The agreement covers Swat and other districts in the Malakand Division, an area of about 10,000 square miles (25,900 square kilometers) near the Afghan border and the tribal areas where al-Qaida and the Taliban have strongholds.
Supporters say the deal will let the government gradually reassert control by taking away the militants' rallying cry for Islamic law.
Also Thursday, dozens of militants armed with guns and gasoline bombs attacked a truck terminal elsewhere in northwest Pakistan, burning five tanker trucks carrying fuel to NATO troops in Afghanistan, police said.
Mounting assaults on the critical supply line through the famed Khyber Pass are adding to worries that Pakistan is losing its grip on the northwest.
Gunmen attacked the truck depot near the city of Peshawar before dawn on Thursday, hurling gasoline bombs which set fire to the five tankers, said Abdul Khan, a local police official.
Security guards fled and the assailants escaped before police arrived, Khan said. Several truckers drove their vehicles out of the terminal to save them from the flames, which were later doused by firefighters, he said.
NATO and the U.S. military insist that their losses on the transport route remain minimal and have had no impact on their expanding operations in Afghanistan. However, they have been seeking alternative routes through Central Asia.
The chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, was in Pakistan Thursday for talks with Pakistani officials, the U.S. Embassy said. Mullen has been a frequent visitor to Pakistan in recent months. The embassy provided no details about his schedule.