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Pakistan: 10 killed in rocket attack

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad | August 25, 2008 12:21 IST
Last Updated: August 25, 2008 14:06 IST

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Ten people were killed on Monday when militants attacked the home of a provincial legislator's brother in Pakistan's restive north-western Swat valley even as the government banned the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Taliban [Images] militants fired a rocket at the home of the brother of Awami National Party legislator Waqar Ahmed Khan in Kabal sub-district, killing his brother, two nephews and seven security guards.

The militants then forced other members of the family out of the house and demolished it with explosives. Khan was not in the home at the time of the attack.

Local Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out in retaliation for military operations against militants that are supported by the ANP, which heads the coalition government in the North West Frontier Province.

He also warned the Taliban would carry out more such attacks across Swat.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced a ban on the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella group of Taliban militants in the NWFP and adjoining tribal areas that is headed by Baitullah Mehsud. He said the ban would help government curb the activities of militants throughout the tribal belt.

A notification issued by the ministry said the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had been outlawed along with the Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam and Amar Bil Maroof Wa Nahi Aneelmunkar (Promotion of virtue and prevention of vice force).

The three other groups too are active in the tribal areas.

According to the notification, they were all banned for involvement in terror activities. It said that all persons who provided shelter or financial support to members of these groups would face action under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The accounts of persons providing financial aid to these groups would be frozen, it added.

Malik had on Sunday rejected the local Taliban's offer of a unilateral ceasefire, saying militants should first surrender their arms if they were serious about peace talks.

Despite a peace deal signed by the NWFP government and the local Taliban in May, the Swat valley has witnessed a fresh spurt in violence since the last week.

Over 50 militants and 10 security personnel were killed in the region in fresh clashes.

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