Peshawar/Washington: At least two local employees of the US consulate in Peshawar were killed in an IED blast while on an anti-narcotics mission in restive northwestern Pakistan.
Yesterday’s blast caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) planted on a roadside in Mohmand Agency killed the two employees of the Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) of the US mission in Peshawar, sources said.
The dead were identified as NAS official Faisal Khan and his driver Abid Shah while four others were wounded and had to be hospitalised.
Later in Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed the news of the deaths of the two employees as he condemned the attack.
“The US government strongly condemns the attack. The United States stands in solidarity with the people of Pakistan and all who fight the scourge of terrorism,” state department spokesman John Kirby said.
The NAS has for years been carrying out inspection of the poppy cultivation areas in the tribal areas and leading efforts in cooperation with the Pakistan government to tackle the cultivation of poppies. It earlier included Americans working at the Peshawar office but is now mostly made up of Pakistani staff.
The Afghanistan-based Jamaatul Ahrar militant group, a splinter faction of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack, the News International reported.
The group has been involved in a number of terror attacks in recent days killing several security personnel.
Later, forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to apprehend the attackers but there were no reports of any arrests yet.