Bomb kills three in northwest Pakistan: police

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) - A roadside bomb targeting a local leader of a nationalist party in northwest Pakistan killed three people and wounded two others on Saturday, police said.

The incident took place in Buner district in the troubled northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, close to Swat Valley where Taliban insurgents shot schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in the head.

Police said the remote-controlled bomb hit the vehicle of Adalat Khan, a local leader of nationalist Qaumi Watan Party, killing him along with two associates.

"Adalat Khan and his two associates have been killed. Two others in the car were critically injured," Mr Asif Iqbal, a senior police official told AFP.

No militant group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but a local intelligence official told AFP that Mr Khan had supported an anti-Taleban village militia in 2009. The head of that militia was later killed in a suicide attack in November 2012.

The Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella grouping of numerous militant factions, has been waging a bloody campaign against the Pakistani state since 2007, carrying out a number of bomb and gun attacks, often on military targets.

Peace talks between the Taleban and the government, announced on Jan 29, stalled this week due to a recent surge in insurgent attacks and a claim by a Taleban faction on Sunday that it had killed 23 kidnapped soldiers.

Government mediators has set a ceasefire as a precondition for another round of talks but Mr Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for Pakistani Taleban on Friday blamed Islamabad for the deadlock and asked the state to declare a ceasefire first.

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