South Asia

Roadside bomb kills 5, injures many in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A roadside bomb killed at least five police officers and injured many in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, according to Pakistani media.

The officers, deployed to protect polio vaccination workers, were traveling in Bajaur district, about 14 kilometers (9 miles) from Afghanistan’s border, when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.

Anwar ul Haq, a senior government official in Bajaur, said the truck was transporting about 25 policemen for anti-polio campaign duties. “At least five officers were killed and 20 others wounded,” he was quoted as saying.

Senior police officer Kashif Zulfiqar confirmed the death toll.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Islamist militants, including the Pakistan Taliban, have previously targeted polio vaccination teams and their escorts.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries where polio remains endemic. The virus can cause permanent disability.

The Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies reported more than 1,500 deaths last year from attacks and counter-terrorism operations — the highest in six years.