Anti-Taliban leader slain in Pakistan

Associated Press / November 28, 2009

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KHAR, Pakistan - A key anti-Taliban tribal leader was assassinated yesterday in a roadside bombing, the latest in a series of attacks against pro-government militias in the Afghan border area of northwestern Pakistan.

Elsewhere, authorities found the bullet-riddled body of another tribal elder who was seized from his home late Thursday in an attack that also left his son dead.

Violence has increased in Bajur and other northwestern tribal regions since the army launched an offensive in South Waziristan in mid-October. Fifteen Taliban fighters were killed in operations over the past 24 hours in South Waziristan, a military statement said yesterday.

Pakistani troops took control of three important militant strongholds in the Bara area of Khyber tribal region, killing another 15 insurgents.

The famed Khyber region is the main route for ferrying supplies to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

It has been the focus of several counterinsurgency operations but militants often resurface with fresh attacks.

Pakistan’s government has supplemented its military efforts by helping tribal leaders and local militias battle the Taliban.