The Taliban on Wednesday stepped up attacks on civilians and pro-government tribesmen in northwest Pakistan, killing five persons including a politician and a militia leader even as nine militants were killed in violence in the restive region.
In a bid to instill fear among its opponents before the Pakistan Army's impending operation in Waziristan, 50 heavily armed Taliban militants stormed into the premises of a leader of a pro-government 'lashkar' or tribal militia in Shangla district in restive Malakand division and shot him dead.
Rehman is the second big lashkar leader to have been killed by the Taliban over the past five weeks. Earlier, another top militant commander Qari Zainuddin, a rival of Tehrik-e-Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, was shot dead.
Haji Khalil Khan, a leader of the opposition PML-Q and a relative of former federal minister Amir Muqam, was killed this morning when militants attacked his 'hujra' or guesthouse in a village in Shangla.
Khan's son and two relatives were injured in the attack, police said. Khan's relatives exchanged fire with the militants, killing two of them.
Witnesses and locals said this was the first time Taliban fighters had resurfaced in Shangla since the military launched operations against them in the region in May.