Suicide attack kills 16 policemen in Pakistan
Last Updated: Monday, August 31, 2009, 00:15
  
Islamabad: A suicide bomber blew himself up at a police station in Pakistan's troubled Swat valley today, killing 16 policemen and injuring over 25 others in one of the worst attacks since the army wrested control of the area from the Taliban.

The bomber entered the police station in Mingora, the main city of Swat district, by climbing over a wall. He detonated his explosives at a ground where 70 personnel from a community police force were being trained.

Swat district police chief Qazi Ghulam Farooq said 12 policemen were killed instantly while four died in hospital. Other officials said more than 25 personnel were injured. North West Frontier Province police chief Malik Naveed Khan said the attack occurred due to negligence and lack of security arrangements.

Personnel of the community police force, comprising local residents and retired army personnel, were being trained at a facility near the police station in Nishat Chowk, a busy square where a large number of people were present.

Policemen deployed at check posts near the police station opened fire after the blast, causing shops in nearby markets to shut down. The firing continued for some time. Authorities imposed curfew in Mingora soon after the attack.

Today's attack, which was the third suicide strike on the police station, occurred despite security forces in Mingora being on high alert. A semblance of normalcy returned to most parts of Swat, located about 160 km from Islamabad, after the army regained control of areas controlled by Taliban fighters led by Maulana Fazlullah.

No group claimed responsibility for the strike though the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan recently said it would carry out attacks to avenge the killing of its chief Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone strike earlier this month. Twenty-two personnel of a tribal militia were killed and over 20 injured when a suicide bomber targeted a check post in the Khyber tribal region on Thursday.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack and said his government is determined to fight militancy till it is complete eliminated. NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the provincial government would not be cowed down by such attacks.

"We are not afraid. Our jehad to end terrorism will continue even if such attacks increase," Hussain told reporters.

"Terrorists will continue carrying out attacks and we should be prepared. There could be attacks in Peshawar or Islamabad at any time though they will focus on Malakand and Mingora as their back has been broken here," he said.

"They are close to being wiped out and we want to tell the people that they should be prepared and should not lose courage. Now even the public is exposing the militants' hideouts and attacking them," Hussain added.

Today's attack, the third suicide strike on the police station, occurred despite security forces in Mingora being on high alert. A semblance of normalcy returned to most parts of Swat, located about 160 km from Islamabad, after the army regained control of areas controlled by Taliban fighters led by Maulana Fazlullah.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack and said his government is determined to fight militancy till it is complete eliminated. NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the provincial government would not be cowed down by such attacks.

"We are not afraid. Our jehad to end terrorism will continue even if such attacks increase," Hussain told reporters.

"Terrorists will continue carrying out attacks and we should be prepared. There could be attacks in Peshawar or Islamabad at any time though they will focus on Malakand and Mingora as their back has been broken here," he said.

"They are close to being wiped out and we want to tell the people that they should be prepared and should not lose courage. Now even the public is exposing the militants' hideouts and attacking them," Hussain added.

No group claimed responsibility for the strike though the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan recently said it would carry out attacks to avenge the killing of its chief Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone strike earlier this month.

Twenty-two personnel of a tribal militia were killed and over 20 injured when a suicide bomber targeted a check post in the Khyber tribal region on Thursday.

Bureau Report


First Published: Monday, August 31, 2009, 00:15


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