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Pakistani Taliban hunter slain

| Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 5:33 p.m.

KARACHI, Pakistan — A senior police investigator known for hunting down Pakistani Taliban militants was killed on Thursday in a car bombing, a sharp blow to efforts to crack down on militant groups seeking to gain a foothold in the sprawling southern city of Karachi that's vital to the country's economy.

Chaudhry Aslam was traveling through a commercial area in the port city when a powerful explosion ripped apart his vehicle, police officer Amir Farooqi said. The blast killed two other officers with him, Farooqi said. Another police official, Munir Sheikh, said a remote-controlled bomb planted on the road destroyed the armored SUV Aslam was in.

Aslam was known for being one of Karachi's toughest police officers who had escaped previous attempts on his life. In September 2011, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives outside his home. That blast killed eight people, though Aslam escaped unharmed.

“This is a cowardly act,” Aslam told local television at the time. “I'm not scared. I will not spare them.”

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt against Aslam in 2011, as well as for the one on Thursday that killed him. A spokesman for the group, Sajjad Mohmand, said that they killed Aslam for torturing their associates.

Aslam had been criticized for allegedly using too much force on suspects. Human rights activists accuse Pakistani police of routinely using excessive force, as well as torturing and killing suspects.

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