PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Dozens of militants attacked an oil and gas plant on Tuesday in Pakistan's remote northwest, near the border with Afghanistan, killing four security troops and two private guards, officials said.
Oil production was temporarily suspended following the attack on the oil and gas extraction facility run by a multinational European company, MOL Pakistan Oil and Gas, in Hangu, a restive district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
The company said the attackers never reached the facility itself but fought with the troops and guards outside.
“Production from the wells has been temporarily shut down by remote access and the wells are now secured,” the company said in a statement.
The attack triggered an intense shootout, according to the local police chief, Sawab Khan. He said a wide search was underway to apprehend the attackers, who fled the scene.
Blame is likely to fall on the Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP. The militant group has stepped up attacks in recent months, after unilaterally ending a cease-fire with the Pakistani government in November.
A separate militant group, the TTP is allied with the Afghan Taliban and its fighters and leaders often take shelter across the border, in Afghanistan, straining relations between the two countries.