Shootout in southwest Pakistan kills 4 policemen, militant

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) – Pakistani security forces raided a suspected hideout of the Pakistani Taliban in the southwestern city of Quetta early Tuesday, triggering a shootout that killed four officers and a militant commander, officials said.

The police launched the raid after being tipped off that the wanted militant commander was hiding in a home in the city’s Kuchlak neighborhood, said police official Naveed Shah. The officers demanded the suspect surrender but he instead opened fire at the security forces, killing four officers before being fatally shot.

A search of the area was still underway, Shah said.

Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan, has seen a spike in violence recently, as has the rest of Pakistan.

On Monday, two roadside bombs hours apart targeted police vehicles in Quetta, killing four people and wounding 22, mostly pedestrians. The bombings were claimed by the outlawed Baluchistan Liberation Army, which was designated a terrorist group by the United States in 2019.

Pakistani security forces have been battling an insurgency in Baluchistan for more than a decade, with separatists in the province demanding complete autonomy or a larger share of the province’s gas and mineral resources.

The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, also have a presence in Baluchistan and have claimed multiple past attacks there.

The militant group is separate from but allied with the Afghan Taliban. TTP insurgents have been emboldened since the Afghan Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops pulled out of the country after 20 years of war.

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