GUNMEN DRESSED AS police killed nine foreign tourists in an unprecedented attack claimed by the Taliban at a remote camp in the Pakistani Himalayas, embarrassing the new government just weeks after it took office.
The attackers struck at the foot of one of the world’s highest mountains, killing Chinese and Ukrainian climbers in an area of the far-flung north not previously associated with violence or Islamist militancy.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, saying it had set up a new faction to kill foreigners to avenge US drone strikes after its second in command was killed in the northwestern tribal belt on the Afghan border.
The deaths call into question the future in Pakistan of foreign mountaineering and trekking expeditions, which provide the last vestige of international tourism in a country on the frontline of Al-Qaeda and Taliban violence.
Officials said nine foreigners, including five Ukrainians and a number of Chinese were killed. One Pakistani also died and one Chinese survivor has been recovered.
The climbers were staying at a base camp for Nanga Parbat, which at 8,126 metres is the second highest mountain in Pakistan and the ninth highest in the world.
- AFP, 2013