- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 12, 2009

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Gunmen ambushed five police officers and a forestry official responding to reports of a dead body in northwestern Pakistan, killing all six, police said Sunday.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities did not rule out Taliban militants.

The insurgents, who have run roughshod over the Pakistani region bordering Afghanistan in recent years, have frequently targeted security forces, though usually through roadside bombs and suicide attacks.

The ambush took place late Saturday in a forested area in the Mansehra district, police officer Rashid Khan said. A bullet-riddled body of an unknown man also was found at the scene along with the dead security officials.

The gunmen also set fire to the responding police van and took away the victims’ weapons, Khan said.

The attack comes as Pakistan’s military is engaged in multiple offensives in various parts of the northwest. In recent weeks, violence has flared in several spots in the region, some of it in apparent retaliation.

The spread of the insurgency has also fueled a rise in criminal activity in the region, and many of the criminal gangs are believed linked to the Taliban.

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