Schools close as Pakistani Taliban siege on police station drags on

BANNU, PAKISTAN: Local schools were closed on Tuesday amid fears of further kidnappings due to a hostage situation at a police station taken over by prisoners Pakistani Taliban fighters dragged into his third day.
More than 30 members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (PTT) – distinct from the Afghan Taliban but with a similar hardline Islamist ideology – overpowered its jailers on Sunday and seized weapons.
The men, suspected of terrorism, demanded safe passage to Afghanistan in return for the release of at least eight police and military intelligence officials, said Muhammad Ali Saif, spokesman for the province. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.
The district’s deputy commissioner announced that schools will close on Tuesday.
“We fear that the Taliban will break into any school in the suburbs and take the students hostage. We are not taking any risks and that is why we have decided to close the schools for today,” said a senior district government official who asked not to. to be named.
The police station is in a cantonment area in Bannu, in the former Autonomous Tribal Areas of Pakistan and near the border with Afghanistan.
Offices and roads were closed and checkpoints were set up in the area.
Pakistani officials have asked the government in Kabul to help free the hostages, the senior government official told AFP.
The TTP said its members were behind the incident and called on authorities to provide them with safe passage to border areas.
On Monday night, at least 50 Pakistani Taliban militants stormed another police station in wana – also close to the Afghan border and some 200 kilometers south of Bannu – according to local government and senior police officials, who both asked not to be named.
The group locked up police and seized weapons before Border Force troops moved in to regain control.
The TTP claimed responsibility, saying two police officers were killed.
Authorities have not officially acknowledged the incident.
The TTP emerged in 2007 and led a horrific wave of violence in Pakistan that was largely crushed after a military operation beginning in 2014.
However, attacks have been on the rise again since the Afghan Taliban took control of Kabul last year, with most targeting security forces.
A months-long fragile ceasefire between the TTP and Islamabad ended last month.

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