Suicide bomber targets soldiers as they play volleyball in northern Pakistan

Suicide bomber targets soldiers as they play volleyball in northern Pakistan
At least 11 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in an attack by a suicide bomber in the once troubled SWAT valley.
2 min read
04 February, 2018
Pakistani soldiers pushed 2,000 Taliban fighters out of Swat Valley in 2009 [file photo-AFP]

A suicide bomber killed at least 11 Pakistani soldiers and injuring 13 more in the north of the country Saturday, bringing fears that unrest could return to a former Taliban stronghold.

The militant targeted the soldiers close to an army base in Swat Valley as they played sports.

"The soldiers were playing volleyball in the evening outside the military base... when a suicide bomber managed to blow himself up," an official told Reuters.

The death toll could rise, the official said, in the attack as civilians watched the match.

Tehreek-e-Taliban - bettern known as the Pakistani Taliban - claimed the attack and warned that more attacks will follow.

"God willing Tehreek-e-Taliban has started the process of revenge attacks," the group's spokesman Mohammad Khurasani said in the statement. "Wait for more (attacks) to follow."

Taliban militants were pushed out of Swat Valley after the Pakistani military launched an offensive against militants in the region.

Parts of the vallery had become strongholds of the Pakistani Taliban between 2007 and 2009.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the military would continue its war against the Taliban.

"No cowardly attack can deter us in pursuing our struggle against the menace of terrorism to its logical conclusion. We will continue our fight till the last trace is rooted out," he said in a statement.

Other political leaders also condemned the attack including ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.