A remote-controlled bomb targeting a passenger van killed at least 14 people and wounded 10 others in northwestern Pakistan yesterday, police said, blaming militants for the attack.
The blast took place in Jandol town, in the district of Lower Dir, 100km from the once Taliban-infested Swat Valley.
“It was a remote-controlled bomb blast which killed 14 people, including three women, and wounded 10 others,” local police official Farman Khan said.
Khan, who was supervising the aftermath at the site, said the vehicle was targeted because it was carrying people known to be pro-government.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Khan said militants were responsible.
Another local police official, Javaid Khan, confirmed the incident and casualties.
In 2009, about 30,000 Pakistani troops went into battle against Taliban fighters controlled by Maulana Fazlullah, who for two years had terrorized people with a campaign of beheadings, violence and attacks on girls’ schools in Swat and parts of Dir.
Dir borders the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan, where a number of security officials believe Fazlullah and some of his fighters sought refuge.
After heavy fighting that displaced an estimated 2 million people, the army declared the Swat region back under control in July 2009, and said the rebels had all been killed, captured or had fled.
However, there have since been sporadic outbreaks of violence in Swat and Dir.
The government has been trying to encourage tourists to return to Swat, which was once popular with Pakistani and Western holidaymakers for its stunning mountains, balmy summer weather and winter skiing. Suicide and bomb attacks blamed on Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants have killed more than 5,000 people since July 2007 across Pakistan.