By Jibran Ahmad and Gul Yousafzai
PESHAWAR/QUETTA – At least five security personnel – three soldiers and two policemen – were killed and six civilians were injured in three separate attacks in Pakistan’s restive western region bordering Afghanistan, security forces said on Saturday.
Two soldiers were killed during a shootout with militants in the Hoshab area of Pakistan’s Turbat district, while a third soldier was killed while trying to clear an improvised explosive device in a related incident, the armed forces’ communications wing said.
Earlier on Saturday, two policemen were killed and six civilians injured, including a young girl, in attacks in northern Pakistan near Afghanistan as local Taliban militants agreed a month’s ceasefire after talks with the government, police said.
The policemen were killed by an improvised explosive device near the border in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where they were posted at a reservoir.
“The two policemen were killed in an IED blast that took place at 10 a.m. (0500 GMT),” Abdul Samad Khan, senior police officer of Bajaur district told Reuters.
The other attack took place on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, where a policeman and five including a young girl and three women were injured.
The explosives were planted in a motorcycle targeting a police patrol in the area, said Ali Raza, a senior police officer.
A local Taliban spokesman denied responsibility for the attacks, saying the militant group will abide by the ceasefire.
The Pakistani Taliban, or Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), are a separate movement from the Afghan Taliban an, which took back control of that country in August. The TTP have fought for years to overthrow the government in Islamabad and rule the South Asian nation of 220 million with their own brand of Islamic Sharia law.
There have been numerous failed attempts to reach peace agreements in the past. The latest talks were opened following the victory of the Afghan Taliban. The two sides have been meeting across the border in Afghanistan, with the aid of Afghan Taliban leaders.