Bomb in north-west Pakistan kills anti-Taliban leader and seven others

Militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility

Afghan security personnel during a continuing anti-Taliban operation in the eastern Kunar province near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. AFP
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Eight people, including the former head of a pro-government militia, were killed in a roadside bombing that attacked the village elder’s vehicle in north-western Pakistan, police said.

The head of the village peace committee, Idrees Khan, was travelling in the area when the roadside bomb hit his vehicle, AP reported

Mohammad Khurasani, the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban militant group — known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan — claimed responsibility.

He said that the Mr Khan had been supporting security forces for the past several years.

The blast happened on 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.

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, declared an indefinite ceasefire in June to further peace talks being brokered by Afghanistan.

However, there have still been regular clashes since then, despite both sides saying the truce was still on.

Isolated militant attacks and security raids on militant hideouts have continued, raising fears these talks could break in the coming months, if not weeks.

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

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.

Updated: September 14, 2022, 8:52 AM