Gunmen killed five female teachers and two other people today in an ambush on a van carrying workers home from their jobs at a community center in northwest Pakistan, officials said. The van was transporting teachers and aid workers from the center in conservative Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Two health workers, one man and one woman, were also killed and the driver was wounded. Police say the four gunmen fled on motorcycles and have not been apprehended.
The attack was a reminder of the risks faced by educators and aid workers, especially women, in an area where Islamic militants often target women and girls trying to get an education. Many militants in the region oppose female education and have blown up schools and killed female educators as a way to discourage girls from getting an education. In a case in the same province that gained international attention, a Taliban gunman shot 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai in the head last October for criticizing the militants and promoting girls' education. (Read more Pakistan stories.)