Bombers assassinated a local leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) on Tuesday, blowing up his vehicle in a district bordering Swat valley.
A makeshift bomb exploded near the vehicle of Sher Khan, head of the ANP in Lower Dir where a sweeping army offensive two years ago appeared to reverse a local Taliban insurgency.
“It was a targeted attack. Sher Khan died on the spot and his police guard and the driver were wounded,” Dir police chief Saleem Marwat told AFP.
Local officials confirmed details of the attack in Maidan town.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s killing but militants routinely target officials in ANP, which leads the government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
In 2009, 30,000 troops went into battle against Taliban fighters.
The army declared the region back under control in July of that year and said the rebels had all been killed, captured or had fled.
The army is now trying to encourage tourists to return to Swat, once beloved by local and international holidaymakers for its stunning mountains, balmy summer climes and winter skiing.
Bombings blamed on Taliban and al Qaeda-linked networks have killed more than 4,630 people since 2007.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2011.