Islamabad - Authorities in northwestern Pakistan said Tuesday that a predawn militant attack near an oil and gas extraction plant killed at least six security guards.
Dozens of armed men assaulted a security outpost guarding the plant in Hangu district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province abutting Afghanistan. Officials said that the ensuing clashes killed four paramilitary Frontier Constabulary force members and two private company guards.
"The terrorists seized automatic weapons and ammunitions of the slain security personnel before fleeing the area," a security official told VOA on condition of anonymity.
No group has immediately taken responsibility for the deadly raid in a region where militants linked to the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, routinely carry out attacks against security forces and installations.
TTP, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, is designated a global terrorist organization by the United States. It has intensified attacks in Pakistan allegedly from sanctuaries in Afghanistan since the Islamist Taliban seized control of the conflict-torn neighboring country.
Pakistani security sources tell VOA that fighters linked to the ruling Afghan Taliban have increasingly joined hands with TTP militants in carrying out cross-border attacks in Pakistan.
Multiple security sources have confirmed that Afghan fighters were among the assailants in at least two TTP-led attacks this month, including the raid on a paramilitary base in Muslim Bagh, southwestern Baluchistan border province. The Pakistani military said that the ensuing hourslong clashes had killed six soldiers, a civilian, and six militants.
Islamabad has been pressing Afghanistan's Taliban to rein in TTP cross-border terrorist violence. The de facto authorities in Kabul insist they are not allowing any group to use Afghan soil against neighboring countries, including Pakistan.
TTP assaults, mainly focused on regions abutting Afghanistan, have killed hundreds of Pakistanis, mostly police and soldiers, since the Taliban seized power in Kabul in August 2021.