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Pakistan Bans Taliban After Twin Suicide Bombings


Pakistan says it has banned a key Taliban group after the militants claimed responsibility for a twin suicide bombing last week that killed at least 64 people.

announced the decision against Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Monday, a day after Pakistani officials rejected a Taliban cease-fire in Bajaur, a tribal region along the Afghan border.

Pakistani security forces have been fighting Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants in Bajaur and other tribal regions on the Afghan border for weeks. More than 500 militants and 22 soldiers have been killed in the offensive and thousands more people displaced.

On Sunday, Pakistani presidential candidate Asif Ali Zardari told British radio the Taliban should be put on a list of banned organizations in Pakistan.

He said Taliban militants have the upper hand against Pakistan and the world in the war on terrorism.

Zardari heads the Pakistan Muslim League (N). He announced plans Saturday to run for president, after former President Pervez Musharraf stepped down to avoid impeachment charges.

Earlier today, militants attacked the home of a local government official in Pakistan's troubled Swat Valley, killing at least eight people.

A police official told the French news agency that Taliban militants carried out the attack.

Pakistani police say the attack on the home of provincial lawmaker Wager Ahmed Khan of the ruling Awami National Party killed three members of his family and at least five other people.

Pakistani troops have been battling militants in the Swat Valley, northwest of Islamabad, for the past year, but fighting has intensified in recent weeks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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