PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Nine people, including policemen, were killed and dozens wounded in two separate bomb and gun attacks in Pakistan’s volatile northwest on Tuesday, police said, a week after the Taliban refused to extend a ceasefire with the government.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took power last year promising to end years of fighting with Taliban insurgents through peace negotiations. Talks began in February but have achieved little.
On Tuesday, three people were killed and 33 others, including 12 policemen, were wounded in a bombing in the Charsadda district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province during the morning rush hour.
Six people, including five policemen and an ambulance driver, were killed in a separate attack on a police patrol on the outskirts of the regional capital of Peshawar overnight. Three others were wounded when militants opened fire.
Senior police officer Shafiullah Khan said unknown people had planted a bomb on a motorcycle and parked it near police headquarters in Peshawar.
“The bomb went off when a police van carrying 13 policemen for duty was passing through the spot. Three persons were killed and 33 were wounded,” he said. “It seems the police van was the target of the attack.”
On April 16, the Pakistani Taliban formally ended a 40-day ceasefire, saying government forces had continued to arrest their men and killed more than 50 people associated with the insurgency.
The first round of talks collapsed in February after less than a week when the Taliban bombed a bus full of police and executed 23 men from a government paramilitary force they had kidnapped.
The Taliban have been fighting for years to overthrow the democratically elected government of Pakistan and impose strict Islamic law on the nation of 180 million people.
Writing by Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Maria Golovnina and Paul Tait