Gunmen killed four police officials in a pre-dawn ambush on Monday in an area of northwest Pakistan troubled by militancy on the main supply route to Afghanistan, officials said.
The assailants targeted a police van on night patrol in the Bara district on the outskirts of the city of Peshawar, senior police officer Qazi Jamil said.
Around 10 assailants armed with Kalashnikov rifles who had been hiding on both sides of the road opened fire and killed all four police officials.
The incident happened near Sarband police station, where territory under direct government control slips into the restive tribal region of Khyber and on the main road leading to eastern Afghanistan.
The casualties were confirmed by another police official. “Our four colleagues were killed and their funeral prayers would be held late on Monday,” said officer Safdar Khan.
Islamist militants bitterly opposed to Pakistan’s alliance with the United States, whose troops are fighting a Taliban insurgency in neighbouring Afghanistan, carry out daily attacks on security forces in the northwest.
The bulk of supplies and equipment required by US and NATO-led foreign forces fighting in Afghanistan pass through the lawless Khyber region and militants frequently attack the convoys.
US officials say northwest Pakistan has become a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who fled the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.