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Attacks in Pakistan kill 9 after militant cease-fire expires

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- A week after Pakistani militants refused to extend a cease-fire with the government, at least nine people, including five police officers, were killed and more than 30 wounded in two attacks in the country’s restive northwest, officials said Tuesday.

Officials said militants ambushed a police patrol in Bhadbare, on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Peshawar, late Monday night. Two police officials were wounded in the attack, and when other officers arrived at the site to retrieve the wounded, the attackers struck again, authorities said.

Five police officers and a civilian were killed. An ambulance also got caught in the crossfire, resulting in injuries, officials said.

In the other incident, three people were killed and 30 wounded when a bomb exploded in a congested bazaar in the town of Charsadda, east of Peshawar. Authorities said the explosive device was planted in an abandoned motorbike and that the target was a police van passing through the bazaar.

The outlawed militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, saw its 40-day cease-fire expire on April 16. The cease-fire had been called to give space for negotiations with the Pakistani government, but the talks have deadlocked as leaders of the militant organization said government forces continued to kill and arrest members of the group.

As a condition of talks, the Pakistani Taliban had asked for the release of what it described as 300 non-combatant prisoners in government custody. Muhammad Ibrahim, who is representing the Pakistani Taliban in the talks, blamed the government for the stalemate, saying it did not comply with the demand.

The talks have included only one round of direct meetings between government and militant representatives.

Security officials have put their forces on high alert across Khyber Paktunkhwa province since the talks stalled.

[For The Record, 1:45 p.m. PDT April 22: An earlier version of this post identified the site of the attacks as northeast Pakistan. They were carried out in the country's northwest.]

Ali is a Times special correspondent. Times staff writer Shashank Bengali in Mumbai, India contributed to this report.

shashank.bengali@latimes.com

Twitter: @SBengali

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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