Pakistan NGO Teacher, Health-Worker Attack Kills 7 in Northwest

Gunmen killed seven staff of a non-government organization, including five female teachers, in Pakistan’s northwest today in the latest violence against foreign-funded projects involved in health and education.

Two unknown attackers ambushed a van carrying eight workers of Support With Working Solution, killing seven employees and critically wounding the van driver, Javed Akhtar, executive director of this organization, said in a phone interview from Swabi, a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Five primary school teachers were killed with two health workers, Akhtar said. They were returning home from a primary school and adjoining health center. Projects are funded by Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and other foreign aid groups, he said.

Taliban, al Qaeda and their allied groups that oppose Pakistan’s alliance with the U.S. in neighboring Afghanistan regularly attack schools and other civilian targets. Malala Yousufzai, a 15-year-old activist who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October, comes from the same province.

Pakistani Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the attack on Yousufzai, blame NGOs for spreading secular thoughts in the insurgency-hit province where last month seven polio vaccination workers were also killed.

In a separate incident in the country’s south today, at least two people were killed and 40 others injured in a bomb blast in Pakistan’s commercial hub Karachi, Geo television reported, citing rescue workers it didn’t identify. The bomb, which was fitted in a motorcycle, went off in the area where people were dispersing after political rally, the network said.

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