Taliban militants in a pair of attacks killed four police officers by targeting a police vehicle with a roadside bomb and wounded six in an attack on a police station in northwest Pakistan early Thursday, police and the insurgents said.
The bomb killed four officers in a police vehicle carrying reinforcements sent to respond to the attack on a police station in Lakki Marwat, a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan. Six officers were wounded in the attack at the police station.
Local police officer Ashfaq Khan said a search was underway for the militant suspects who attacked the police station in Lakki Marwat and later targeted the police vehicle with a bomb.
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the attack, saying he was saddened by the “martyrdom” of the targeted officers. “The sacrifices of our police officers in the war against terrorism are unforgettable,” he said.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks, saying one of the slain police officers, Iqbal Mohmand, was targeted because he was behind the arrest and killing of some of its fighters.
The group known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, is separate but allied with Afghanistan’s Taliban. There has been an uptick in attacks in Pakistan after the Pakistani Taliban ended a cease-fire with the government of Pakistan.
TTP has been emboldened since the Afghan Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in 2021 when U.S. and NATO troops were leaving the country after 20 years of war. Many TTP leaders and fighters have found sanctuaries in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.
Pakistan has seen innumerable militant attacks in the past two decades but there has been an uptick since November, when the TTP ended a monthslong Afghan Taliban-brokered cease-fire with the government of Pakistan.
The latest violence comes days after Pakistan’s elections oversight body delayed legislative elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces due to a spike in militant attacks and the government’s refusal to provide the necessary funds, security forces and polling staff. The government cited financial constraints as the reason.
The elections which were to be held on April 30 and have been postponed to Oct. 8.