Thirteen killed in Pakistan attack attributed to Taliban

Government official's home attacked before dawn Thursday; Among the dead are six members of the same family.

pakistan journalists 298 (photo credit: AP)
pakistan journalists 298
(photo credit: AP)
Suspected pro-Taliban militants attacked the house of a government official in northwestern Pakistan before dawn Thursday, killing 13 people, police said. "We believe that local Taliban are behind this attack. They used AK-47s and rockets to attack the house," said Jamal Khan, a local police official. The dead included six members of the same family and seven guests, Khan said. The attack occurred near Tank, a town in Pakistan's troubled North West Frontier Province that lies in a swath of territory near the Afghan border where Islamic militants had challenged the government's authority with increasing success over the past year. The area had been the site of several deadly attacks over the past week. Khan said the house belonged to Ameerud Din, a local political administrator. He was not home at the time, but his brother, who is also a public servant, was among those killed. The family had recently received threats that appeared to be tied to a brother who works as a reporter in the southern city of Karachi, Khan said. Analysts say pro-Taliban groups were extending their influence from the semiautonomous tribal region next to the Afghan border. The area is considered a haven for Taliban guerrillas fighting foreign troops in Afghanistan as well as a possible hiding place for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The government also faces militancy in the southwestern region of Baluchistan. In the latest incident there, an assailant on a motorcycle hurled a grenade at the offices of a state-run gas company in the provincial capital, Quetta, killing a security guard, police said Monday. Ethnic Baluch groups are suspected of targeting security forces, railroads, gas fields and pipelines to press demands for greater autonomy and increased royalties for resources extracted in the province.