Unidentified gunmen killed six barbers in a pre-dawn attack Tuesday in a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban in northwest Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border, police said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Mir Ali, a town in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to Jamal Khan, a local police chief, as reported by The Associated Press.
The incident, which shocked residents, targeted barbers working at various shops in the town. Javed Ali, a local resident, recalled meeting one of the slain men last month at a barbershop.
Mir Ali had been a base for the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, until military operations cleared the area of insurgents. The TTP, a separate group but allied with the Afghan Taliban, had a significant presence in the region until the Afghan Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 during the final stages of the U.S. and NATO troop withdrawal after 20 years of war.
Militants in the area had previously banned Western-style haircuts and trimming of beards.
The region has experienced numerous militant attacks in recent years, as Pakistani authorities continue to target TTP hideouts in efforts to prevent the group’s resurgence.