Suicide bomber kills provincial minister in Pakistan's northwest
A Taliban suicide bomber killed a provincial minister and seven other people in a suicide bombing outside his home. From Dawn:
At least eight people, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa law minister Israrullah Gandapur, were killed Wednesday when a suspected suicide bomber exploded outside his residence in Dera Ismail Khan.
According to initial reports, suicide bomber detonated his suicide vest as the provincial law minister was exchanging Eid greetings with several people outside his residence.
Deputy superintendent of police in Kullachi, Mohd Khan, confirmed the minister's death.
While the Taliban have yet to claim credit for the attack that killed the law minister, the al Qaeda-linked group has carried out many attacks against senior government officials in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the past. Aftab Sherpao, the former Interior Minister, was targeted in a suicide attack outside a mosque while he conducted Eid prayers in the settled district of Charsadda in December 2007, shortly after the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan was formed. Asfandyar Wali Khan, then the chief of the Awami National Party, was also targeted in a suicide attack outside his home during Eid in October 2008.
Numerous other Pakistani ministers have been targeted and killed in Taliban attacks in the northwest. Most recently, the Taliban killed Bashir Ahmed Bilour, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in a suicide bombing in Peshawar in December 2012.
Top Pakistani military officers are also on the Taliban's target list. The most recent senior officer assassinated by the Taliban is Major General Sanaullah Niazi, the commander of Pakistani Army troops in Swat. He was killed in an IED attack in September 2013.
Despite the continued targeting of senior politicians and military leaders, the Pakistani government is seeking to conduct peace talks with the Taliban. Meanwhile the Taliban have been clear that they will conduct talks only if the government halts military operations in the northwest, imposes sharia, or Islamic law, throughout the country, and ends the US drone campaign that targets top al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.