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Children killed in Taliban assault in Pakistan

Taliban gunmen shot dead four children and the driver on a school bus in Pakistan as revenge for being opposed.

At least 14 other children and two women teachers were wounded in the attack in Matani on the outskirts of the city of Peshawar.

Two local tribal leaders in Matani have raised local militias to stop militant infiltration from the nearby border regions with Afghanistan. They get government financial and logistical help, and have killed or captured many militants over the last 18 months.

But they and their families have been ruthlessly targeted by the militants, who until three years ago were in control of the area.

"This was to teach them a lesson and we will continue to carry out attacks wherever and whenever possible no matter if it is a school or a school bus," said a Pakistani Taliban spokesman.

Police said five gunmen armed with assault rifles and rocket launchers attacked the van, which was taking students aged between 10 and 15 from the Khyber Grammar School.

Militants seeking to overthrow Pakistan's Western-backed government have carried out hundreds of attacks in recent years, mostly against security force, civilian or state targets. The army, supported by the United States, is battling the insurgents in several regions, but the extremists have proved resilient.

The government has also supported the creation of tribal militias to fight the Taliban. They have had some success in stopping the spread of the insurgency, but have been repeatedly attacked. Many of the deadliest strikes in recent years have been against the tribal forces, or civilians living in their areas.

Elsewhere in the north-west, the bodies of two young men were found with a note saying they were killed by the Pakistani Taliban for spying on one of its commanders.

They were found in their home village of Pahar Khel in Lakki Marwat district, said police officer Syed Khan. They had been shot.

Belfast Telegraph

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