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March 2, 2016
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US consulate’s official, driver killed in Mohmand blast

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March 2, 2016

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Jamaatul Ahrar claims responsibility

GHALLANAI: Two employees of the Narcotics Affairs Section at the US Embassy were killed in an explosion caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Ambar Tehsil of Mohmand Agency, official sources said.

Those killed were identified as Faisal Khan, an official at the Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) based at the US Consulate in Peshawar, and his driver Abid Shah. Another official Aftab Khan, who was a monitoring officer, the local Naib Tehsildar identified as Faramosh Khan, and two personnel of the Khassadar Force were wounded in the blast and had to be hospitalised.

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, was later quoted by the media as saying that two members of their diplomatic mission in Pakistan had been killed.

For years, the NAS has been carrying out inspections of poppy cultivation areas in the Fata and cooperating with the Pakistan government to tackle the cultivation of poppy. It used to have Americans working at the Peshawar office, but now mostly the Pakistani staff is handling the work.

There were reports that the militant group, Jamaatul Ahrar, a splinter faction of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack. The Jamaatul Ahrar leadership is based in Afghanistan and is led by Abdul Wali aka Omar Khalid Khorasani. It escaped to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province after the military operation against it in the Mohmand Agency.

The IED was reportedly planted at roadside in the Sangar area in Ambar Tehsil. The blast was triggered when the NAS staff members accompanied by the local administrative officials led by Faramosh Khan were on a visit to check progress on controlling poppy cultivation.

The bodies of the two slain men and the four wounded persons were shifted to the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Ghallanai. The injured men were later taken to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

Later, security forces personnel, accompanied by the officials of the political administration of Mohmand Agency, cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to apprehend the attackers and their accomplices. There were no reports of any arrests.

 

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