Militants attack anti-Taliban mayor in northwest Pakistan
Sunday, 15 Nov, 2009
PESHAWAR: More than a dozen militants opened fire on the house of an anti-Taliban mayor in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, but security guards repelled the attack, killing three assailants, said police.
Militants have staged a wave off attacks in northwestern Pakistan in recent weeks in retaliation for an army offensive launched last month in the tribal area of South Waziristan, where al-Qaida and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding.
Several of the militants who attacked Mayor Mohammad Fahim Khan's house disguised themselves by donning burqas, said police official Nabi Shah.
‘Seeing three burqa-clad women early in the morning, Fahim Khan's security guards challenged them, and the men threw away their disguise and opened fire,’ said Shah.
‘But the guards were alert and they retaliated quickly.’
The guards killed three militants and waged a gunbattle with the rest, but they managed to escape, said Shah.
Khan was the second mayor to be attacked in the last week who has organised a local militia to fight against the Taliban. A suicide bomber hit a crowded market outside the main northwestern city of Peshawar last Sunday, killing 12 people, including a mayor who once supported but turned against the Taliban.
Militants have made several attempts to assassinate Khan, who is the mayor of Bazid Khel town, some 10 miles south Peshawar.
‘Militants have exploded three bombs near my house, killing innocent people, and they have opened fire on me several times but have failed so far,’ said Khan. ‘These attacks will not weaken my resolve against militants.’
The recent wave of attacks has killed hundreds since the beginning of October. The insurgents appear to believe the violence will weaken the determination of both the people and the government to counter the rising militant threat.
Many attacks have targeted areas in and around Peshawar, which borders Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal region where the army is fighting its offensive. Strikes in the past week alone have killed more than 50 people, including 11 who died Saturday when a suicide car bomber attacked a police checkpoint on the outskirts of Peshawar.
A day earlier, another suicide car bomber attacked the regional office of Pakistan's top intelligence agency in Peshawar, killing 10 people.