Police and soldiers killed as more violence flares in northwest Pakistan

Three attackers were also reported killed in the second attack this week on police posts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Tank district, Pakistan

Several officers and soldiers have been killed and injured in attacks by armed men on a police station and an army outpost in northwest Pakistan, police said.

The assaults came on Friday morning, extending a growing campaign of violence in former Taliban strongholds along the border with Afghanistan. Three days earlier, a suicide bomber killed 23 Pakistani soldiers in the same province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Friday’s attack on the police occurred in the Tank district of the province’s Dera Ismail Khan division. Police said two officers were killed and three others wounded.

The incident also left three of the attackers dead, reports Al Jazeera’s Abid Hussain.

Two were killed by police while the third blew himself up, he reported. An unexploded suicide jacket has also been found and police launched an operation to secure the compound.

“Our force on guard engaged them in a gun battle for hours,” and police officers were wounded, police official Iftikhar Shah told Reuters news agency.

According to Pakistan’s DawnNewsTV, Shah said all remaining officers at the post were evacuated safely and a search operation was under way after alerts of more armed men present in the area.

An armed group that identified itself as Ansar-ul-Islam claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released to a Reuters reporter. However, Dawn reported that a group called Ansarul Jihad claimed the attack.

The police did not verify the authenticity of the claims.

According to the AP, a military post was also targeted on Friday morning. Two soldiers were reportedly killed and five wounded, local police official Salim Khan said.

On Tuesday, armed men stormed a military post in the town of Daraban, about 60km (37 miles) from Dera Ismail Khan city. The fighters rammed a vehicle laden with explosives into the main gate of the police station, followed by a suicide bombing attack, the army said.

That attack was claimed by the recently formed militant Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistani group, which is believed to be an offshoot of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or the Pakistani Taliban.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has witnessed a rise in violence this year, with several deadly attacks taking place. In January, at least 101 people were killed when a suicide bomber targeted a mosque in the capital, Peshawar.

The TTP has been waging a war against the state for years, seeking to overthrow the government and replace it with a harsh brand of Islamic governance.

Authorities say fighters have become emboldened while living openly in Afghanistan since the Taliban took it over in 2021.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies