Eight peace-seeking tribal elders shot dead in Pakistan
Allegra Stratton and agencies
Monday January 7, 2008
Eight tribal leaders attempting to broker a ceasefire in Pakistan's dangerous north-west province have been shot dead by suspected Islamic militants in eight separate killings.
The assassinations began late on Sunday night and continued into the early hours of Monday morning, according to a statement from a security official and the military.
The eight tribal leaders were scheduled to meet each other on Monday in Wana to discuss plans to achieve peace between between security forces and insurgents.
All the attacks happened in South Waziristan, a mountainous region close to Afghanistan where al-Qaida and Taliban militants are known to operate. The suspected insurgents killed three of the men in a market in Wana, the region's main town, while the other five were killed in attacks on their homes, the security official said.
Pakistan's security forces have fought intense battles with militants in South Waziristan. Although the government has encouraged moderate tribal elders to push for a ceasefire in the region, there has been little sign of success.
Also today, a suicide attacker detonated a bomb near a guesthouse occupied by military officers, wounding one person.
The attack happened in the town of Kabal in the Swat region, a former tourist destination 175 miles (280km) north of South Waziristan, where security forces have been battling loyalists of a pro-Taliban cleric.
The bomber is reported to have blown himself up when he was stopped by soldiers at a checkpoint.
The Pakistan-Afghanistan border area is considered a likely hiding place for the al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Laden, and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. The US has pressured the president, Pervez Musharraf, to crack down on militants operating in the area.
On Sunday, Pakistan reiterated that it would not let American forces hunt al-Qaida and Taliban militants on its soil, after a report in the New York Times said the Bush administration was considering expanding US military and intelligence operations into Pakistan's tribal regions.
The Pakistani government also has claimed Baitullah Mehsud, a South Waziristan-based militant leader with links to al-Qaida, had some involvement in last month's assassination of the opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Mehsud has denied involvement.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Stor ... 25,00.html
Actually, they reported nine shot or killed I read?
http://z10.invisionfree.com/Loose_Chang ... opic=21040