A policeman stands guard at the scene after a blast in Lahore, Pakistan February 13, 2017. REUTERS

ISLAMABAD – At least five people were killed in north-western Pakistan on Wednesday in an attempt by a pair of Taliban suicide bombers to storm a government building, local officials said.

The bombers tried to sneak into the official compound of the chief district officer in the Mohmand tribal region near the Afghan border, but were challenged by the security guards at the gate, official Shabbir Ahmed told dpa.

One of them exploded his suicide vest at the entrance, killing three soldiers and two civilians while the other one was shot dead by guards, Ahmed added.

Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat ul Ahrar, which allegedly operates from Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for attack, two days after the same group killed 13 people in the eastern city of Lahore.

Around two dozen people, the majority members of security forces, have been killed in Taliban attacks since the start of this week, suggesting an uptick in violence.

Violence has declined in Pakistan since the military pushed back the rebel Taliban allied with al-Qaeda from the regions on the Afghan border in a series of offensives launched from mid-2014.

But the insurgents’ ability to launch surprise attacks remains a challenge for security forces and intelligence agencies. – dpa

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