Pakistani intelligence officer, driver killed, officials say

This is a locator map for Pakistan with its capital, Islamabad, and the Kashmir region. (AP Photo)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Suspected militants ambushed a vehicle carrying a senior military intelligence officer in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing him and his driver, security officials and police said.

Brig. Mustafa Burki, who had been deeply involved in operations against the Pakistani Taliban in recent years, was “martyred” along with his driver as he traveled in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, three security officials said. The province bordering Afghanistan is a former stronghold of militants.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to media on the record.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack on Burki.

It was the second major assault on intelligence officers since January, when Pakistani Taliban killed another senior officer and his colleague in Punjab province. Burki and the officers killed in January were known for gathering information about militants and supervising raids on insurgents.

Separately, the military said in a statement Tuesday that three soldiers and three militants were killed in a shootout Monday in Dera Ismail Khan, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It provided no details about the slain insurgents. However, Pakistani Taliban often target troops in the northwest and elsewhere.

The military did not mention the second attack, in which Burki and his driver were killed.

The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, are a separate group but allied with the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in their country as the U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from Afghanistan in August 2021.

The Taliban in Afghanistan last year brokered a cease-fire between the Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad's government but the insurgents later ended the truce. Since then, Pakistan has witnessed a surge in militant attacks in the country.