10 killed in militant attack in Pakistan (Lead)

August 25th, 2008 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Peshawar, Aug 25 (DPA) At least 10 people were killed Monday as pro-Taliban militants attacked the family residence of a member of parliament in North Western Frontier Province (NWFP), officials said.Around 150 to 200 heavily-armed insurgents surrounded the house of Waqar Ahmad Khan in Kabal area of the restive Swat valley and killed his brother Iqbal Khan, two nephews and seven bodyguards, police said.

Later the militants took the women and children out and demolished the house by detonating explosives. Waqar was not in the house when the attack took place.

Earlier reports said that the house was hit by a rocket fired by Taliban insurgents, causing the deaths.

A spokesman for radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah, who is leading an armed struggle for the enforcement of Taliban rule in Swat valley, claimed responsibility for the killings.

“This is our response to the mortar shelling by government forces in the area,” he told journalists by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Waqar is a member of the provincial assembly in NWFP and belongs to the liberal and secular Awami National Party (ANP) that leads the provincial government in the province.

The party opened peace talks with the rebels in March in a bid to end six months of fighting that erupted when the government sent troops to quell the rebellion of Fazlullah’s followers in October 2007 in Swat, which formerly was a popular tourist destination. A peace accord was signed with militants May 21.

Under the accord, the government agreed to partially enforce Islamic law, carry out a phased withdrawal of troops from the region and release dozens of prisoners.

Fazlullah called off the peace talks a month later and accused the government of delaying the implementation of the agreement.

Since then the extremists have been carrying out attacks on government troops and installations, and assassinations of mainly political leaders from the ANP.

Last week two local ANP leaders, Mohammed Amin and Mousa Khan, were killed while 10 other people, including four policemen and two children, died in two bombings by militants Friday.

ANP spokesman Zahid Khan condemned the militant raid. “This is an act which stands in absolute violation of Islamic as well as local Pakhtun traditions,” he said.

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