Six policemen were killed in an attack on a police vehicle in Pakistan’s north western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday. Violence against Pakistani security forces has increased in the area after militants from neighbouring Afghanistan reportedly crossed over a few months back.
Militants fired on the vehicle as the police were conducting a routine patrol. Pakistani security forces have launched a search operation in the region, which shares a porous border with Afghanistan.
The Dawn reported that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack. He said: “terrorists are the enemies of Pakistan and every possible step will be taken to safeguard the country”. He also asked the local government to announce compensation for the killed policemen.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has asked for a report from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.
6 policemen have #Martyred in an attack on a police mobile van by militants in the Shahabkhel area of Lakki Marwat District, Southern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of #Pakistan pic.twitter.com/wCrpOao6wy
— Arif Mehmood (@ArifMehmoodPAK) November 16, 2022
This month militants have struck a number of times, including killing two police officials on polio duty. In other incidents, many security officials have either been killed or injured in rising violence in the region.
The surge in attacks has been attributed to the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), a terror outfit with its base in Afghanistan. With its government in the saddle in Kabul, the militants have started to look towards Pakistan as another favourable seat of power. TTP cadres have been crossing over from Afghanistan into Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region.
Though the TTP and the Pakistani Army were negotiating for peace with the assistance of the friendly Taliban government in Kabul, the talks reached a dead end after TTP leaders were killed in an attack, which the latter blamed on Pakistan.
Also, the two sides are at complete variance in their views regarding a settlement for peace. The TTP wants an open border with Afghanistan for the Pashtun families to move across without hindrances while the Pakistani army is building a fence on the border. Another point of contention is the laying down of arms which the TTP has refused.
The local people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been agitating for peace for months now.
Just this week, they organised a protest as violence intensified in the area. Last month also there was a massive protest after a school van was ambushed resulting in the death of the driver and injuries to two children.