x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Nine Pakistan police shot dead by Taliban gunmen

The police, who were targeted in Lahore, were training to become prison guards, said Habibur Rehman, the chief of police in Punjab province.

Pakistani security officials inspect the scene where nine Pakistan police officers were killed by Taliban gunmen in Lahore today.
Pakistani security officials inspect the scene where nine Pakistan police officers were killed by Taliban gunmen in Lahore today.

LAHORE, PAKISTAN // Taliban gunmen opened fire on a compound housing policemen in eastern Pakistan, killing nine of them, officials said.

The police, who were targeted in Lahore, were training to become prison guards, said Habibur Rehman, the chief of police in Punjab province.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for the police torture of their fighters in prison. He spoke by telephone from an undisclosed location.

The police who were attacked were recruited from north-west Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a one-time base for the Taliban, and were brought to Lahore for training, said Mr Rehman.

Eight officers also suffered bullet wounds, said Salman Saddiq, a government official.

One of the wounded, Shafqat Imran, said that eight to 10 attackers, their faces hidden behind hoods, stormed into the compound and started shooting randomly. They shouted "God is great," then shot the policemen one by one, said Mr Imran, speaking from a hospital bed.

The Pakistani military launched a massive offensive against the Taliban in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Swat Valley in 2009, and many militants were captured and jailed.

Police said they suspect the gunmen who attacked the housing compound were the same ones who killed seven soldiers and a policeman at an army camp on Monday about 160 kilometres north-west of Lahore. The Pakistani Taliban also claimed responsibility for that attack

The Pakistani Taliban has waged a blood insurgency against the government over the past few years, demanding it break ties with the United States and establish Sharia law throughout the country. The militants have killed thousands of soldiers, police and civilians in attacks.