The victims were from Sabawoon, a non-profit charity that provides training to women on how to run a business from home and works to create gender rights awareness.
A group of militants have attacked a vehicle carrying women activists from a non-governmental organisation in Pakistan’s North Waziristan district, killing all four and wounding the driver.
The attack took place in the village of Epi in Mir Ali, a town in North Waziristan district, said Iqbal Khan, a local police officer. Shafi Ullah Khan, a district police chief, also confirmed the attack, saying police had launched a search in an effort to trace and arrest the attackers.
They fled to nearby mountains and no one has claimed responsibility.
Officials said the victims were from the Sabawoon Pakistani charity, which provides training to women interested in doing business from their homes and creates awareness among them about their rights.
The women activists traveled to Mir Ali from the town of Bannu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The attack drew condemnation from Pakistani rights activists on social media, with most of them demanding swift action against those responsible.
Militant threat in border region
Police said the apparent militants had prior information and were waiting for the women to arrive.
Pakistani militants have in recent months stepped up their activities in the region, raising fears they were regrouping in the former Taliban stronghold.
Militants also often attack Pakistani troops in the former tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.
The North and South Waziristan districts served as the main base for local and foreign militants until the military secured the regions in 2015.
The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, are a separate insurgent group from the Afghan Taliban, although Pakistan’s militant groups are often interlinked with those across the border.
This is the ex-spokesperson of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan who claims responsibility for the attack on me and many innocent people. He is now threatening people on social media. How did he escape @OfficialDGISPR @ImranKhanPTI? https://t.co/1RDdZaxprs— Malala (@Malala) February 16, 2021
The latest attack comes weeks after a former spokesperson of the TTP, Ehsanullah Ehsan, had threatened Nobel Laureate Malala Yousufzai with a second attempt on her life, saying next time " there will be no mistake."
A campaigner for girls education, Malala was shot in the head by TTP militants in December 2012.
Ehsanullah Ehsan then TTP spokeperson had claimed responsibility for the attack on Malala who was 15 years old at the time.
The TTP is said to have lost control of all territory in Pakistan since its December 2014 attack on an army school that killed 132 children for which Ehsan had also claimed responsibility on behalf of the group.
Ehsan surrendered himself to authorities on February 5, 2017 remained in the Pakistani military's custody, according to an announcement made by then-director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor.
Three years after turning himself in, Ehsanullah managed to escape under mysterious circumstances.
The militants tweet, that the social media platform deleted along with many of his other profiles, also prompted Malala to question the country's civilian and military leadership regarding the details of the militant's escape.