Taliban kill 4 Pak schoolchildren | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 08, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 08, 2009

Taliban kill 4 Pak schoolchildren

15 extremists killed in offensive, drone strike

Taliban militants yesterday shot dead four schoolchildren and wounded six others in an apparent sectarian attack in a remote tribal town in northwest Pakistan, officials and residents said.
The students were going to school in Atmankhel town of Orakzai district when the militants opened fire, killing four boys and wounding six others, local administration official Asmatullah Khan told AFP.
"It appears to be a sectarian attack as the slain students belonged to the minority Shia sect of Islam," he said. "The attackers were Taliban."
Residents said the dead students were all younger than 16, but were not able to give the exact ages of the victims.
"I heard gunfire and came out of my home," local resident Samiullah Khan told AFP by telephone. "I saw people armed with Kalashnikov rifles fleeing in two jeeps, while several students were bleeding."
Earlier at least 15 more Taliban extremists were killed in Pakistan military's counter insurgency operation and a drone attack in the Khyber and North Waziristan areas.
While 10 militants were killed in the Tirah valley during anti-militancy offensive, a US drone targeted an alleged militant hideout and a madrassa in Machikhel village in North Waziristan killing five persons on the spot besides injuring six others, The Daily Times reports
"The strike targeted a madrasa and an adjoining house in Machikhel village in North Waziristan. At least five people were killed and six others injured," a senior security official said.
Local tribesmen have cordoned off area and are searching for bodies, sources said.
People have started leaving their homes amid the fresh military operation against the extremists in the region.
According to an estimate 30,000 people have left Khyber Agency for safer places since Sunday.
"Thousands have fled the military operation in Khyber. Around 30,000 people have arrived in Peshawar," said Sahibzada Mohammad Anis, administrative chief in Peshawar.
Orakzai borders Khyber district, where the military launched a fresh offensive against Islamist extremists about a week ago, sending thousands of residents fleeing and killing more than 130 rebels, according to army figures.
Pakistan's semi-autonomous northwest tribal belt has become a stronghold for hundreds of Taliban, al-Qaeda and other extremists who fled Afghanistan after the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001.
Taliban fighters frequently attack and burn schools in the northwest, while tensions are also rife in the area between the majority Sunnis and the Shias.
Pakistan in late April launched an offensive against Taliban in the northwest, targeting rebels in Swat valley and the nearby districts of Buner and Lower Dir after the insurgents advanced close to the capital Islamabad.
The military in July claimed to have cleared the area of the Taliban threat, and has now turned its attention to the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

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