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Page last updated at 06:25 GMT, Wednesday, 13 August 2008 07:25 UK

Pakistan militant leader killed

Pro-Taleban leader Haji Namdar, speaking to reporters after the blast
Haji Namdar's critics called him a 'religious terrorist'

A militant leader in the Khyber region of north-west Pakistan has been shot dead by unidentified gunmen.

Haji Namdar was killed when the attackers entered the headquarters of his Vice and Virtue Movement and shot at him, his spokesman said.

He said two suspects have been captured after the killing, but it is too early to say who could be behind the attack.

In June, Namdar's organisation was banned and troops began an operation against Islamist militants in Khyber.

His house was also blown up by the security forces during the operation.

Namdar was the leader of one of the three militant groups active in the area.

After returning from Saudi Arabia to the Tirah valley in Pakistan's Khyber Agency in 2003, he set about enforcing laws similar to those imposed by Taleban in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Like the Taleban's Mullah Mohammad Omar, his word was considered final.

Initially, the valley's mainly Afridi tribes people welcomed the organisation's commitment to curbing lawlessness.

But the tide of popular support slowly disappeared with some tribal chiefs accusing him of "religious terrorism".

His volunteers hit men for not covering their heads or not growing beards in what is deemed the proper style and length.

Under him, music was banned, as was television. Every worshipper had to sign the mosque's register to verify they had offered prayers.


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