PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN (AFP) – Six police officers were killed in an ambush in northwest Pakistan on yesterday, officials said, an assault claimed by the nation’s homegrown Taleban.
The Pakistan Taleban share common lineage with the Afghan Taleban and have staged an increasing number of strikes.
Gunmen with automatic rifles launched an attack at around 7am on a police vehicle patrolling the village of Shahab Khel, 100km from the Afghan border.
“All the six policemen were killed” under fire from both sides, district official in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Tariqullah Khan told AFP.
The death toll was confirmed by a second police official. The Pakistan Taleban – known as Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP) – said the police were “coming for a raid” when they were gunned down.
It said in a statement to AFP its own fighters “managed to reach their base safely” after looting weapons and ammunition. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif offered his condolences and said on Twitter, “terrorism continues to be one of Pakistan’s foremost problems”.
The TTP were at the height of power in Pakistan between 2007 and 2009, when they held sway over the Swat valley just 135km north of Islamabad. They were pushed into Afghanistan by an army offensive after perpetrating a barbaric schoolhouse bombing that killed nearly 150 students in 2014.