At least nine and perhaps 10 climbers were murdered by armed rebels near the base camp for the Diamir Face on Pakistan's Nanga Parbat, one of the world's 14 8,000-meter mountains. A branch of the Pakistan Taliban has claimed credit for the unprecedented attack, which is likely to damage the country's tourism industry.
Nanga Parbat is in the Baltistan region, where the great Karakoram Range meets the Himalayas. The area is often contested politically by India, China, and Pakistan, whose borders converge here. But it is a place of great beauty, its Hunza Valley often known as the mythical Shangri-La. Tourism was the primary source of income in the region until the 9-11 attack in New York. Tourists had only recently began to return to the volatile region, but climbers on a quest to climb the country's 8,000-meter peaks have still come here over the past decade. While parts of Pakistan are known to be dangerous to all travelers, climbers have so far been safe in the remote areas where the big peaks are found.
Reports from the mountain say gunmen stormed base camp late Saturday, killing the climbers with automatic weapons. Pakistan officials said there were five Ukrainians, three Chinese and a Russian among the climbers who were killed. AT least 50 climbers who were already on the mountain, with Sherpa climbers assisting fixing ropes, are apparently safe.
At 26,660-feet (8,126 meters), Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain in the world.