updated 1/6/2006 11:53:43 PM ET 2006-01-07T04:53:43

Assailants armed with rockets and assault rifles attacked a newly built checkpoint near the Afghan border in Pakistan before dawn Saturday, killing all eight security forces, officials said.

The attack happened in a village near Miran Shah, the main town in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region where Pakistan has deployed thousands of troops and security forces in an effort to flush out remnants of the Taliban, al-Qaida and their local supporters.

All eight soldiers guarding the checkpoint were killed, said a senior security official on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Another security official in the region, who also didn’t want to be named, told The Associated Press by phone that the slain troops had moved to the new checkpoint hours before the attack.

He said Pakistani forces backed by helicopters were trying to track down the assailants.

The checkpoint was set up this week as part of Pakistan’s efforts to stop insurgents from sneaking into Pakistan or going back to Afghanistan, where U.S. forces have been trying to root out rebels.

Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war on terror and killed or captured scores of terror suspects and their local supporters in northern Pakistan after the Sept. 11 attacks.

However, terror suspects also often target security forces.

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