Roadside bomb claimed by Pakistani Taliban kills eight in northwest

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Rescuers put the body of a victim of a truck explosion in Swat Valley into an ambulance – Copyright AFP/File Sam Yeh

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

The blast happened late Tuesday in the Swat Valley town of Kabal, which was largely ruled by the Pakistani Taliban during a 2007-09 insurgency.

For years, Islamabad has encouraged tribal self-defense 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 chief Idrees Khan was killed when his van was hit by a roadside bomb.

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

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

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

The TTP declared an indefinite ceasefire in June to facilitate Afghan-brokered peace talks, but there have been regular clashes since then, although both sides have said the truce is still in effect. .

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

The Pakistani and Afghan Taliban are distinct groups, but share a common ideology.

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