By Asad Hashim
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – A faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility on Wednesday for a roadside bombing that killed two Pakistani employees of a U.S. consulate.
The Jamaat-ur-Ahrar said it detonated the remote-controlled explosive device on Tuesday in the Mohmand agency of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), about 170 km (105 miles) from the capital, Islamabad.
“Jamaat-ur-Ahrar’s mujahideen carried out a remote-controlled bomb attack that sent a FATA secretariat employee and his driver to hell,” said a statement emailed to Reuters.
Faisal Khan and Abid Shah were killed while on a drug eradication mission, the U.S. State Department said.
Khan was identified by U.S. authorities as the most senior Pakistani employee at the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar. Shah was identified as the driver, having joined the consulate in 2009 as a security specialist.
Four other Pakistanis were wounded in the blast, the Taliban said.
Pakistan’s volatile tribal areas have been home to an insurgency by Islamist militants under the banner of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) since 2007.
The tribal areas, including Mohmand, have seen multiple rounds of military operations reduce the TTP’s capacity, but targeted attacks against state and civilian targets are common.
Mohmand has seen increasing violence in recent weeks. On Feb. 18, Jamaat-ur-Ahrar gunmen killed nine Pakistani paramilitary soldiers in two separate attacks.
(Additional reporting by Jibran Ahmed in Peshawar, Pakistan; Editing by Nick Macfie)