Asia PacificTerrorism

Roadside Bomb Claimed by Pakistan Taliban Kills Eight in Northwest

A bomb killed the former head of a pro-government militia and seven others in northwestern Pakistan, officials said Wednesday, in an attack claimed by the local Taliban.

The blast happened Tuesday night in Kabal town in the Swat valley, which was largely ruled by the Pakistan Taliban during a 2007-2009 insurgency.

For years, Islamabad encouraged tribal vigilante forces known as peace committees to defend their villages against militants.

Most have been disbanded since the insurgency was largely crushed and security improved across the country.

Swat district police officer Zahid Nawaz Marwat told AFP that former peace committee head Idrees Khan was killed when his pick-up truck was hit by a roadside bomb.

Another local police official confirmed the death toll, which included two local policemen, two private guards and three laborers.

The attack was claimed by the outlawed Tehreek–e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who said Khan was involved in the killing of their members.

The group also claimed responsibility for a clash with Pakistani military in which three soldiers were killed Tuesday in Kurram district, bordering Afghanistan.

The TTP declared an indefinite ceasefire in June to facilitate peace talks being brokered by Afghanistan, but there have been regular clashes since then despite both sides saying the truce was still on.

Since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan last year, Islamabad has regularly complained of attacks by the TTP, especially along their porous frontier.

The Pakistan and Afghanistan Taliban are separate groups, but share a common ideology.

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