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US, Britain, and UN weigh options amid rising violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan

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Against the backdrop of a string of suicide bombings in Pakistan, British, American, and United Nations officials are grappling with the idea of a negotiated settlement with the Taliban.

On Monday, a suicide bomber struck the home of a prominent politician in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, an area that borders Afghanistan and that has become the site of ever-increasing attacks by the Taliban, Pakistan's English-language newspaper, The Nation, reports:

A suicide bomber killed 26 people and over 70 others were injured, many of them critically, on Monday in the latest attack to underscore the threat posed by Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.
The attacker blew himself up in a crowd of people at the house of Rashid Akbar Khan Nawani, an MNA [member of the National Assembly] from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, in the town of Bhakkar, police and hospital officials said.

Mr. Nawani was not among the injured, the reports adds. The Los Angeles Times points out that this was the third attack targeting a prominent Pakistani politician this week.

Last week, Asfandyar Wali Khan, leader of a secular party that competes with Islamic militants for support among ethnic Pashtuns, escaped injury in a suicide bombing at a gathering in his family compound in Pakistan's troubled northwest. On Sunday, suspected insurgents fired rockets at the home of a senior official in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, where much of the recent violence has been centered.

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