A roadside bomb killed an anti-Taliban tribal elder in a lawless Pakistani district bordering Afghanistan on Tuesday, officials said.
The bomb exploded when Malik Mohammad Younis, a prominent elder of the Salarzai tribe, was travelling in a vehicle with his two sons in Gulloshah village near Khar, the main town in Bajaur district where Taliban militants have been active.
“Malik Mohammad Younis was killed and his two sons were wounded after a bomb planted on a roadside exploded as their vehicle passed,” tribal administration official Saaz Mohammad told AFP.
He said nobody immediately claimed responsibility. Taliban militants have carried out several bomb attacks against tribal elders who have raised and supported vigilantes against them.
Intelligence officials confirmed the attack and death, and said Younis supported the government’s offensive against Taliban militants and had been active in organising tribes to combat the insurgents.
Bajaur is one of seven semi-autonomous tribal districts along Pakistan’s mountainous western border which became a hotbed of Islamist militants following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Pakistan began a long-awaited push to clear insurgent bases from the North Waziristan tribal district in June last year after a bloody Taliban attack on Karachi airport sank faltering peace talks.
The army has intensified its offensive since the Taliban’s massacre of 153 people, 134 of them children, in a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar last December.