PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN (AP) – A roadside bombing on Friday killed two policemen in a former militant stronghold in northwestern Pakistan, police said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Bajur, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that borders Afghanistan. The district’s police chief, Abdus Samad Khan, said the bomb was remotely detonated. A search for perpetrators was underway, he added.
Bajur has long served as a sanctuary for the Pakistani Taleban militant group – known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP – until the military declared the region was cleared of local and foreign militants following a series of military operations in 2010.
However, isolated militant attacks have continued in the region, though the Pakistani Taleban have not claimed responsibility for any of the attacks since May, when talks started between the TTP and Pakistani government officials in Kabul. A cease-fire has also been in place since then.
The talks in Kabul are hosted by the Afghan Taleban, a separate group but allied with the Pakistani Taleban. The Taleban seized power in Afghanistan a year ago as the United States (US) and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country.
That takeover has emboldened the Pakistani Taleban, whose fighters and leaders, officials said, have been hiding in Afghanistan.