Militants blow up empty Pakistan girls' schools: officials

New map of Pakistan

Militants detonated explosives inside two empty girls' schools in northwestern Pakistan overnight, destroying nine classrooms but causing no casualties, officials said Monday.

Girls' education has long been contentious for some regional militants, including the Pakistan Taliban, notorious for shooting then-schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai as she campaigned for schooling in 2012.

The twin attacks on the girls' schools took place on Sunday night in the Hassu Khel and Gul Mosaki areas of North Waziristan, both around 20 miles (32 kilometres) from the border with Afghanistan.

"Militants planted improvised explosive devices in the two government middle schools for girls, which exploded late in the night," said senior local administration official Rehan Gul Khattak.

He said six classrooms in Hassu Khel and a further three in Gul Mosaki were destroyed.

"It was surely done by militants but we don't know yet which group was involved," Khattak told AFP.

District police officer Salim Riaz confirmed the incident and said "a full-scale investigation" had been launched.

North Waziristan has historically been a hive of militancy, and was the target of a long-running Pakistani military offensive and US drone strikes during the post-9/11 occupation of Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban surged back to power in Kabul in 2021, Pakistan has witnessed a dramatic uptick in militancy, with most attacks focussed in border regions.

The Pakistan Taliban -- known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) -- remain among the most active groups in the area.

It was formed in 2007 by Pakistani militants who splintered off from the Afghan Taliban to focus their fight on Islamabad for supporting America's invasion.

TTP fighters once held sway over swathes of northwest Pakistan but were turfed out by the army after 2014, the same year Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize for her campaign.