Multan (AP) — Pakistani Taliban fighters attacked a police post in eastern Punjab province early Sunday, killing one officer and injuring three others, and triggering a shootout that killed two of the attackers, officials said.
The attack occurred in the Mianwali district of Punjab province and led to an intense exchange of fire as reinforcements arrived at the besieged police post, said Imran Nawaz, a spokesman for the counterterrorism police.
A group of 10 to 12 militants attacked the Kundal police post in the Easa Khel area of Mianwali, close to the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, after midnight, Nawaz said. The exchange of gunfire continued for hours, during which two of the attackers were killed and a third was wounded but escaped with the others, Nawaz said. A search operation was underway in the area to find the attackers, he said.
The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group but are allied with the Afghan Taliban, who took over Afghanistan in August 2021 following the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from the country. The takeover emboldened the TTP, who often carry out attacks near the Afghan border and elsewhere in the country.
Meanwhile, the death toll from Friday’s bombing in the Mastung district of the volatile southwestern Baluchistan province reached 60 as some of those who were critically wounded died at the hospital overnight and on Sunday, according to a spokesperson for the main hospital in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan.
Waseem Baig said a few more victims remained on ventilators while some 25 people were stable in the city’s main hospital and the military hospital. Over 25 wounded were earlier discharged from the hospitals.
A suspected suicide bomber or bombers blew themselves up Friday among a crowd in the Mastung district. It was one of the deadliest attacks targeting civilians in Pakistan in months.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. But suspicion is likely to fall on the Islamic State group’s regional affiliate, which has claimed previous deadly bombings around Pakistan.