WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that two Pakistanis working with the U.S. Consulate in the northwestern city of Peshawar were killed by a roadside bomb while on a mission to eradicate drug cultivation.
Kerry told an audience at the State Department that he awoke to news that the pair had been killed. He lamented the deaths as senseless and denounced the perpetrators.
State Department spokesman John Kirby later confirmed that two Pakistani employees of the U.S. mission were killed in the attack on a Pakistani government anti-narcotics convoy. He condemned the attack and said the U.S. had offered assistance to Pakistan in "investigating the incident and bringing the perpetrators to justice."
A Pakistani government administrator said the bomb targeted Pakistani officials working for a USAID-funded project for the eradication of poppies in the northwestern tribal region of Anbar, killing two of them and wounding four others.
Naveed Khan said he did not know whether those killed or wounded were also working for the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar.
"I can only confirm that a Pakistani inspector working for a USAID-funded project was killed along with his driver in an IED blast today," he said, using the abbreviation for improvised explosive device.
Khan said the two were working in the Narcotics Affairs section of a government department.
Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for Jamatul Ahrar— a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban— claimed responsibility for the attack.
Associated Press writers Munir Ahmed in Islamabad and Bradley Klapper in Washington contributed to this report.