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Local anti-Taliban head killed in Pakistan attack

Pakistani police say at least six people have been killed after a suicide bomber blew himself up near a vehicle carrying the head of a local peace committee. Several more have been injured.

Police said the suicide attack took place in Pakistan's northwestern Buner District on Saturday. They said Fateh Khan, the leader of the local anti-Taliban militia, died in the explosion along with five others.

They said the bomber struck as Khan's vehicle was leaving a petrol station in the main city of Buner, some 86 kilometers north of the capital, Islamabad.

A district police chief told AFP news agency that up to five people had also been injured in the attack.

Buner is believed to be a hiding place for the Pakistani Taliban. It is located near the Swat Valley, where the Taliban last month shot and wounded 14-year-old education activist Malala Yousufzai for advocating the right of girls to education and criticizing the militants.

The army declared Swat back under control in July 2009, after defeating Taliban fighters who waged a two-year campaign of terror in the district. The government has promoted anti-Taliban militias in the region in a bid to stamp out last pockets of the militants.

Islamist insurgents are suspected of having killed more than 5,200 people across Pakistan since July 2007 in suicide and bomb attacks.

tj/kms (AP, AFP)