KHAR: A suicide bomber Saturday struck the vehicle of a Pakistani anti-Taliban militia leader killing him and four others in a restive tribal area bordering Afghanistan, officials said.
The incident took place in Salarzai region, 65 kilometres (40 miles) northeast of Khar, the main town of Bajaur tribal district in the northwest of the country.
“A suicide bomber blew himself up before the vehicle of Malik Manasib Khan killing him and four others including a paramilitary soldier and wounding five others,” tribal police official Javed Khan told AFP.
The elder was the chief of Salarzai tribe, which had raised a village force and expelled Taliban militants from their area. He was on a patrol along with paramilitary officials when he died, Khan said.
Local intelligence officials confirmed the attack and the death toll.
Nobody claimed responsibility for the bombing but Manasib Khan had survived four previous attempts on his life by Taliban militants, police official Khan said.
In Pakistan's first known female suicide attack, a woman wearing a bomb under her burka struck near a UN food distribution point in Khar on December 25 killing 43 people. The pro-government Salarzai tribe was again the target.
Pakistani security forces have carried out a series of military operations against the Taliban and other militants in Bajaur since August 2008.
The military has claimed repeatedly to have eliminated the militant threat.
Bajaur is one of seven districts in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt on the Afghan border. The United States considers the area the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous place on Earth.
More than 4,200 people have been killed across Pakistan in attacks blamed on Taliban and other religious extremist networks based in the tribal belt since government troops stormed a radical mosque in Islamabad in 2007. – AFP