Gunmen kill 6 barbers in a former stronghold of Pakistani Taliban

No one immediately claims responsibility for the killings in Mir Ali, a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province near Afghan border

By AP

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A barber attends his customer along a street in Lahore on July 21, 2023. — AFP file photo used for illustrative purpose only
A barber attends his customer along a street in Lahore on July 21, 2023. — AFP file photo used for illustrative purpose only

Published: Tue 2 Jan 2024, 2:48 PM

Unidentified gunmen shot and killed six barbers before dawn on Tuesday in a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban in the country's northwest near the Afghanistan border, police said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the killings in Mir Ali, a town in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said Jamal Khan, a local police chief.

The incident shocked residents, who said the slain men all worked at various barbershops. Javed Ali, a local resident, said he met one of the slain men last month when he went to a barbershop for a haircut.

Mir Ali served as a base for the Pakistani Taliban — who are known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP — for years until the military cleared the area of insurgents. TTP is a separate group but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.

Pakistani militants years ago had banned the trimming of beards and haircuts in Western styles.

Pakistan has seen many militant attacks in recent years in the region, where authorities often target TTP hideouts to foil the group's efforts to stage a comeback.


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