ISLAMABAD (AA): At least six policemen were killed in a terrorist attack in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan on Wednesday, an official said.
The terrorists riding motorcycles opened fire at a police patrol van in Shahabkhel area of Lakki Marwat district, the southern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, local police official Irfanullah told Anadolu Agency over the phone.
In a statement, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack, calling it a terrorist act.
“The nation salutes the sons who sacrificed their lives for the motherland. Terrorists are enemies of Pakistan and the entire nation will stand against them,” the statement issued from the Prime Minister’s Office added.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said in a statement the incident was “very unfortunate” and the “sacrifice of the martyrs will not be in vain”.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
However, the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a conglomerate of various militant outfits in the country, has long been involved in attacks on security forces in the adjoining districts, including Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, South Waziristan and North Waziristan districts.
Following a series of security operations in the former tribal districts of South Waziristan and, in particular, North Waziristan, once dubbed the “heartland of militancy,” in 2014, the group was pushed towards Afghanistan, where it is reportedly operating from bordering areas.
The South Asian country has seen a resurgence in militancy, mainly in bordering areas, following the recapture of Kabul by the Afghan Taliban in August last year.
In November last year, the Pakistani government and the TTP reached a “complete” cease-fire brokered by the Afghan Taliban. However, there has been no lull in the alleged cross-border and targeted militant attacks on security forces.
Peace talks have taken place several times between Islamabad and the TTP since 2007, but have yielded no results.