Skip to main content

Taliban bomb kills top Pakistani general, officers

By Sophia Saifi, Zahir Shah Sherazi and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
October 9, 2013 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Pakistani Taliban claim responsibility for the attack
  • Officials had just announced plans for "phased withdrawal" of troops from some areas
  • The blast is a troubling reminder of the region's volatility

Editor's note: See a side to Malala you haven't seen before in Christiane Amanpour's special interview, The Bravest Girl in the World, on CNN Sunday, October 13, 7pm ET. The program, recorded in New York before a studio audience, will include exclusive material.

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A roadside bomb killed a top Pakistani general Sunday, just a day after officials announced plans to withdraw troops from a war-ravaged region near the border with Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed Maj. Gen. Sanaullah Khan, the commanding officer in Swat Valley. Two other officers were also killed, army officials said.

For years, troops have clashed with Taliban militants in Swat, which drew global attention last year when militants there shot teenager Malala Yousafzai point-blank in the head and neck after she defied the Taliban's ban against girls in school.

The Pakistani army has reclaimed control of the Swat Valley, where the Taliban held significant sway for years. But Sunday's attack was a troubling reminder of the region's volatility even as officials consider pulling out troops.

The roadside bombing occurred in the Upper Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in northern Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.

On Saturday officials in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa announced for a "phased withdrawal" of troops from Upper Dir, Lower Dir and Swat.

And last week the Pakistani government announced plans to pursue renewed peace talks with Taliban militants.

Pakistani leaders push for Taliban talks

But a Taliban spokesman said Sunday that there is no ceasefire with the Pakistani government, warning that such attacks will continue.

"We have killed them," Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said, "as they are killing us."

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issued a statement expressing condolences over the slain officers' deaths Sunday.

"(The) Pakistan Army has made substantial sacrifices to protect the nation against the menace of terrorism," he said, "and such cowardly acts by terrorists cannot deter the morale of our armed forces."

Karachi, Pakistan, shut down after violence

Journalist Sophia Saifi reported from Islamabad, journalist Zahir Shah Sherazi reported from Peshawar, Pakistan, and CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet reported from Atlanta. CNN's Aliza Kassim contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 0122 GMT (0922 HKT)
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1028 GMT (1828 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT