Taliban attack kills 17 near Hangu

Published October 3, 2013
File photo
File photo

ORAKZAI: A Taliban-claimed militant attack in Spin Tall area on the border of Orakzai and Kurram tribal regions killed at least 17 persons and injured another 22, according to security sources.

Although Spin Tall is part of settled areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Hangu district, it has the status of semi-tribal territory.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, speaking to Dawn.Com claimed responsibility for the attack, saying Mullah Nabi Hanafi had been supporting the government against the TTP and hence was their target as anyone opposing the Taliban ideology and fighting against them would be on the TTP hitlist.

Security sources said that the compound of an anti-Taliban militia commander Mullah Nabi Hanafi was targetted by militants who opened fire before detonating an explosive-laden vehicle inside the compound.

The militant compund was completely destroyed in the explosion, Deputy Superintendent of Police Tall Tehsil Shaukat Ali Shah told Dawn.com.

He added that there were reports of at least 17 people dead, including a woman and a child whereas 22 others were injured.

Security forces reached the site of attack and sealed the area.

Moreover the injured were shifted to the local hospitals as reports of another suicide bomber were received.

The intensity of the explosion was so huge that the area residents claimed to have felt its jolt similar to that in an earthquake.

There are also reports, whch could not be confirmed by official sources, that Mullah Nabi Hanafi was also injured in the attack.

The intelligence reports said that two attackers who had tried to enter the compound were also gunned down, but the militants surrounded the compound and no one was allowed to enter as the injured were rushed out.

The details could not be independently verified as access of media is restricted in the region.

Mullah Hanafi was associated with the Tehrik-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the past but later, after developing differences, formed his own militant faction to fight against the TTP.

TTP militants have also targetted Hanafi's training compunds in the past.

Moreover, Hanafi is also wanted by authorities in connection with the killing of Fareed Khan, a Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) MPA from Hangu, after an arrested accused member of his group confessed to the killing.

Orakzai is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal regions in the northwest, where Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked militants are said to have carved out strongholds.

Security officials have claimed in the past that up to 92 per cent of Orakzai has been cleared of insurgents.

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