|The bombing took place in the district of Lower Dir, 100 kilometres northwest of the Swat valley© AFP/Graphic|
, PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – (AFP) – A bomb targeting members of an anti-Taliban militia exploded during funeral prayers in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least 18 people and wounding 47 others, police said.
The incident took place in the district of Lower Dir, 100 kilometres from the once Taliban-infested Swat valley, and came two days after another bomb in the northwest killed four boys connected to another anti-militant group.
Eighteen people were killed and 47 wounded, said senior police official Salim Khan Marwat, adding that it appeared to have been a suicide attack.
Police said there were more thanÂ 100 people attending the funeral.
Marwat said the explosion targeted members of a government-sponsored anti-Taliban militia operating in the area.
On Tuesday on the outskirts of northwestern Peshawar city, gateway to the militant-infested tribal zone, the Pakistani Taliban ambushed a school bus, killing four boys and the driver.
|Pakistani Taliban ambushed a school bus on Tuesday in Peshawar© AFP/File A. Majeed|
It said the attack was to punish a local tribe which formed a lashkar, or group, against it.
The children studied at an elite English-language school of a type reviled by hardline Islamist militants who oppose what they see as Western-imported, secular education.
Also in Lower Dir on Tuesday, a local leader in the area’s main ruling Awami National Party (ANP) was killed when a makeshift bomb blew up his vehicle.
In 2009, 30,000 Pakistani troops went into battle against Taliban fighters who for two years had terrorised people with a campaign of beheadings, violence and attacks on girls’ schools in Swat and parts of Dir.
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 Pakistani and Western holidaymakers for its stunning mountains, balmy summer climes and winter skiing easily accessible from the capital Islamabad.
Bombings blamed on Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked networks have killed more than 4,630 people since 2007, destabilising the nuclear-armed state.