TTP militants kill six Pakistani policemen going to escort polio vaccination team

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A bomb explosion targeting policemen going to provide security for polio vaccination workers killed at least six of them and injured 22 others in Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Monday, in the latest terror attack claimed by the dreaded Pakistani Taliban.

The incident occurred in the Mamund tehsil of Bajaur district in the province bordering Afghanistan just when the police personnel boarded a van to join security duty with polio vaccination teams. The injured have been shifted to a nearby hospital, where an emergency was declared.

Six policemen were killed and 22 others injured in the explosion, a police spokesman said. The police spokesperson said all the casualties were police personnel. He said some of the injured police personnel were in critical condition at a government hospital and that the death toll was expected to rise further.

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Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan(TTP), which has been fighting to impose the rule of Sharia across the Islamic country, has taken responsibility for the attack. An official said the medical campaign has been halted in the area where the attack occurred and that all the polio workers are safe.

Caretaker Chief Minister KPK Arshad Hussain condemned the attack and said the war against terrorism would go on till the elimination of the last terrorist. Polio teams are often targeted by militants in Pakistan due to opposition to the vaccine. The Pakistan Taliban have killed scores of polio vaccination workers and policemen guarding them in the past.

The TTP is a separate group but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war. Many TTP leaders and fighters have found sanctuaries in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover, which also emboldened the TTP to carry out more attacks on security forces.

It has strained Pakistan’s ties with the Taliban government, which insists it does not allow TTP to use its soil to launch attacks in Pakistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries in the world where polio remains endemic.