Pakistan’s police reported the deaths of three officers on Friday near the northwestern Afghan border following a gun battle that also resulted in the killing of three militants. This surge in violence raises security concerns as the country approaches national elections early next year.
The attack, occurring within two days of a previous militant assault that claimed the lives of 23 Pakistani soldiers in Dera Ismail Khan district, highlights the escalating security challenges in the region bordering Afghanistan.
In the latest incident, which took place in the adjacent Tank district, militants initiated the attack by detonating one of their members at the main entrance of a police office and residence block. Subsequently, others stormed in, resulting in the tragic deaths of three police officers.
A previously unknown militant group, identifying itself as Ansar-ul-Islam, claimed responsibility for the attack, asserting it was their inaugural assault. However, the police did not authenticate the claim.
The Pakistani military has undertaken multiple operations against militants, particularly in the Waziristan region adjoining the district where the recent attacks occurred. Waziristan once served as a hub for local and foreign Islamist militants.
The militants have intensified their attacks since ending a ceasefire with the government last year. It remains unclear whether the newly identified group is affiliated with the main Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organization encompassing various Islamist and sectarian factions.
The TTP has waged a prolonged war against the state, aiming to overthrow the government and establish a stringent form of Islamic governance.