Of course the Taliban can be trusted. This was just a few over zealous people who probably regret their actions. They were probably upset with the US and instead took it out on shia.
February 28, 2012|By the CNN Wire Staff
In an unusual attack in a relatively peaceful region of northwest Pakistan, assailants ambushed four passenger buses, pulled out Shiite males and killed 18 of them Tuesday, police said.
Pakistani officials swiftly condemned the attack, with President Asif Ali Zardari saying the "culprits of such a heinous crime will not be spared."
The attack took place in the mountainous Kohistan district in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, senior police official Muhammad Ilyas said.
The attack was unusual in both its scope and its sectarian nature in a region that normally does not see much militant activity.
Police official Khurshid Khan said this was the first time an incident of this magnitude had taken place in the area.
Sunni-Shiite Muslim violence has been minimal in the past and this is the first time an organized terrorist attack targeting either group has taken place," he said.
A Pakistani Taliban spokesman, Ahmed Marwat, told CNN that his group claims responsibility for the attack.
The interior minister, Rehman Malik, immediately formed a team to investigate the incident and promised a report within three days, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
The buses were carrying passengers from Rawalpindi to the city of Gilgit in northwest Pakistan, Ilyas said. Gilgit is an area with a considerable population of Shiites.
Assailants stopped the buses early Tuesday morning and ordered the passengers out, he said.
They then singled out the male Shiite passengers, lined them up and shot them, Ilyas said.
Eight others were injured in the attack, but Sunni passengers were unharmed, he said.
Even though the area is not known for militant activity, Pakistan -- a majority Sunni Muslim nation -- has a long history of sectarian violence. Shiites make up roughly 20 percent of a population of about 170 million.
Muhammad Amir Rana -- the head of an Islamabad based think tank that monitors militant activity in the region -- says in recent months tensions have escalated between Sunni's and Shiites in the district of Kohistan with a number of targeted killings. He says the killings were usually single deaths that didn't make headlines. Rana says local leaders were trying to bring peace between the sects in the region.
"I think this is a result of the rising tension in the region in the past couple of months," he said. "We've seen targeted killings there but nothing of this magnitude. This can destroy the peace talks that were taking place in the area between different groups."