Taliban fighters kill six Pakistani police officers in gun ambush - GulfToday

Taliban fighters kill six Pakistani police officers in gun ambush


Security officials attend a funeral prayers for police officers who were killed in an ambush in the village of Shahab Khel in Lakki Marwat district on Wednesday. AFP

Six police officers were killed in an ambush in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, officials said, an assault claimed by the nation’s homegrown Taliban.

Gunmen with automatic rifles launched an attack at around 7:00am on a police vehicle patrolling the village of Shahab Khel, 100km from the Afghan border.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the ambush in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan and has seen frequent attacks on security forces. The militant group - formally known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP - is separate but allied with the Afghan Taliban.

The attackers who ambushed the police in the Dadewala area of the Lakki Marwat district escaped on motorcycles, according to police officer Rab Nawaz Khan. He said an investigation was underway.

A TTP spokesman, Mohammad Khurasani, said the police patrol was ambushed while on the way to carry out a raid in the area. The militants snatched police weapons before fleeing the scene, he said.

“All the six policemen were killed” under fire from both sides, Tariqullah Khan, a district official in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told AFP. The death toll was confirmed by a second police official.

President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif offered his condolences and said on Twitter, “terrorism continues to be one of Pakistan’s foremost problems.”

Also in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, two soldiers were killed in a shootout with militants. The gunbattle erupted during an overnight raid in the Hilal Khel area in Bajur. A militant was also killed, according to a military statement.

The Pakistani Taliban said the police were “coming for a raid” when they were gunned down in Shahab Khel.

The military said troops seized arms and ammunition from the militant killed in the raid. The army said he had been involved in past attacks on security forces. Several militants are believed to have fled the scene of the shootout.

The Pakistani Taliban have for years operated in northwestern Pakistan, once a haven for militants from both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan more than a year ago has emboldened the Pakistani Taliban. The Afghan Taliban have encouraged Islamabad and the TTP to reach a peace agreement through dialogue and Kabul has facilitated talks between the two sides. So far, those negotiations have yielded no results, though a cease-fire has been in place since May.


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