Four women who ran empowerment workshops were gunned down Monday in a volatile area of Pakistan that was once a base for the Taliban, local police and the women’s employer said.
The team was hired by Bravo College of Technology in Peshawar to help local women gain vocational skills such as sewing in North Waziristan, said Fayaz Khan, the chief executive of the college.
“Is this the way to give back to someone for the hard work they were doing for the poor?” Khan said by telephone. “Their role was tremendous for the local community.”
The women were shot in an apparent targeted attack as they passed through a deserted village near the town of Mirali in North Waziristan tribal district, police chief Shafiullah Gandapur told NBC News.
North Waziristan runs along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan and served as a base for the Pakistani Taliban and other militants, including Al Qaeda, until 2014, when the army said it cleared the region of insurgents.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
The incident comes amid an uptick in attacks claimed by the Pakistani Taliban in the deeply conservative area in recent months and amid concern that the insurgents may be regrouping.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Mushtaq Yusufzai and Saphora Smith