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Roadside bombs kill six in Pakistan's northwest

PARACHINAR, Pakistan — Roadside bombs struck two vehicles in Pakistan's volatile northwest Sunday, killing a former irrigation minister and three others in one attack and two anti-Taliban tribal elders in the other.

Public officials and private citizens combatting the growing Taliban-led insurgency in Pakistan have been frequent targets in a wave of violence that has killed more than 600 people in the past 21/2 months.

A single attack two days ago killed nearly 100 people when a suicide car bomber struck a sports event near a meeting of tribesmen who supervise an anti-Taliban militia near Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal area.

The Pakistani army invaded South Waziristan in mid October in an attempt to neutralize the Pakistani Taliban's main stronghold in the country, but many militants fled the offensive and have been launching attacks elsewhere in the northwest.

The Pakistani government has pledged it will persevere despite the violence but has resisted U.S. calls to expand its offensive to target militants launching cross-border attacks against coalition troops in Afghanistan.

The U.S. has responded by increasing drone missile strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas, including a suspected attack Sunday in North Waziristan that killed at least five people, according to intelligence officials.

Hours earlier, a roadside bomb struck a vehicle in the Hangu district of North West Frontier Province, killing former Irrigation Minister Ghaniur Rehman, his two guards and his driver, said district police chief Abdur Rasheed. Two police officers accompanying the former minister were wounded in the attack, he said.

Rehman was affiliated with the Pakistan People's Party (Sherpao group) headed by former Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao, who has survived two suicide bomb attacks.

The attack came after a roadside bomb struck a vehicle carrying anti-Taliban elders in the Bajur tribal area, killing two and critically wounding four others, said local official Naseeb Shah.

Roadside bombs kill six in Pakistan's northwest 01/03/10 [Last modified: Sunday, January 3, 2010 11:09pm]
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