PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Taliban gunmen attacked a school van in northwestern Pakistan yesterday, killing four children and the driver in an assault they said was carried out to punish local tribesmen for resisting the insurgent movement.
At least 12 boys, two girls, and two female teachers were wounded in the attack in Matani on the outskirts of the main northwestern city of Peshawar, said police officer Qayyum Khan.
Two local tribal leaders in Matani have formed militias to stop militant infiltration into Peshawar from the nearby border regions with Afghanistan.
They get government financial and logistical help, and have killed or captured many militants over the last 18 months.
In return, they and their families have been targeted by the militants, who controlled the area until three years ago. Its proximity to the tribal regions and the main northwestern city of Peshawar make it highly strategic.
“This was to teach them a lesson, and we will continue to carry out attacks wherever and whenever possible, no matter if it is a school or a school bus,’’ said Mohammad Afridi, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman in the Dara Adam Khel region, which is close to Matani.