Asia - Pacific

4 women aid workers killed in Pakistan

On Sunday gunmen also abducted 8 people as violence again grips restive North Waziristan

Aamir Latif   | 22.02.2021
4 women aid workers killed in Pakistan File Photo

KARACHI, Pakistan 

Gunmen killed four women aid workers and injured two others on Monday in the latest wave of violence in northwestern Pakistan.

The aid workers, affiliated with a local women's skills development project, were shot dead by militants riding two motorbikes when their vehicle was intercepted in Mirali, a town in the North Waziristan district near the Afghan border, local police chief Saifullah Gandapur told reporters.

Suffering bullet wounds, the driver of the car was taken to a hospital where he is said to be out of danger. Another aid worker suffered minor injuries as she jumped out of the car before the gunmen opened fire, the official said.

The attack followed a clash in restive North Waziristan on Saturday between security forces and militants loyal to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a terrorist umbrella group, which left a security official and two suspected militants dead.

In a separate incident on Sunday night, unidentified armed men killed one person and abducted at least eight others, including a local lawyer in the Shewa area.

According to local police officer Atiq Hussain, armed men intercepted a passenger van and killed its driver and kidnapped passengers.

Hussain said security forces have launched a cordon and search operation to rescue the abductees.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either attack, but security officials pointed fingers at the TTP.

North Waziristan -- once dubbed the heartland of militancy -- is one of seven former semi-autonomous tribal regions in Pakistan where the army has carried out a series of operations since 2014 to eliminate the TTP network.

Successive operations have pushed the TTP towards neighboring Afghanistan, and Islamabad claims the terrorist network has now set up bases across the border to attack Pakistani security forces.

The military operations also displaced over 1 million people, but the government claims most of them have returned to their homes.

In 2018, the tribal agencies were given the status of districts and merged with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

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