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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