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Taliban attack secular candidates

PARACHINAR, Pakistan — Taliban bombs targeting politicians in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday killed 11 people, the latest in a series of attacks meant to disrupt next month’s parliamentary election, police said.

The wave of political violence has killed at least 60 people in recent weeks, and many of the attacks have been directed at candidates from secular parties opposed to the Taliban. That has raised concern the violence could benefit hard-line Islamic candidates and others who are more sympathetic to the Taliban because they are able to campaign more freely without fear of being of being attacked.

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Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the three attacks, plus two others against secular parties in the southern port city of Karachi on Saturday that killed four people and wounded over 40.

The first bomb on Sunday ripped through the campaign office of Syed Noor Akbar on the outskirts of Kohat, killing six people and wounding 10, police officer Mujtaba Hussain said. A second bomb targeted the office of another candidate, Nasir Khan Afridi, in the suburbs of Peshawar. That attack killed three people and wounded 12, police officer Saifur Rehman said.

The politicians were not in their offices at the time of the blasts.

The third attack occurred in the town of Swabi, where a bomb went off during a small rally held by the Awami National Party, which has been repeatedly targeted by the Taliban. The blast killed two people and wounded five, said police officer Farooq Khan. The two candidates targeted in the attack were not hurt.

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