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Police Kill 10 Taliban Gunmen in Lahore

by AFP

File Photo. Asif Hassan—AFP

Counter-Terrorism official says several of the deceased were linked to Feb. 13 bombing.

Police killed 10 Taliban gunmen in an early morning shootout on Saturday in Lahore, officials said, with several militants tied to a February bombing dying in the skirmish.

The gunfight erupted as authorities were escorting five members from the Pakistani Taliban to an arms cache. Gunmen aiming to free the group ambushed them en route, said a spokesman with Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department.

“Ten terrorists from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ul-Ahrar were killed during an operation with the Counter Terrorism Department in Punjab including the accused handler of the Feb. 13 Lahore blast,” said the official, referring to a Pakistani Taliban faction.

According to the spokesman the firefight ensued for half an hour with at least 10 gunmen killed.

The skirmish comes days after seven people were killed and 19 wounded during a Taliban suicide attack targeting a census team in the city.

Lahore has been on edge since a wave of violent attacks across Pakistan in February killed 130 people and shook citizens emboldened by growing security. The attacks included a bomb blast in the eastern city on Feb. 13, which killed 14 people in an assault claimed by Pakistani Taliban faction. Ten days later a fresh blast sent panic through the city when it killed eight people, though officials later said it was a gas leak, not an attack as initially feared.

The renewed violence has dented optimism after the country appeared to be making strong gains in its decade-and-a-half long war on militancy, with analysts speaking of a militant resurgence.

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