Suicide Bomber Attacks, PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – According to the military and officials, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden car at the main gate of a police station in northwest Pakistan early Tuesday, killing at least 23 servicemen and injuring 32 others, and causing a portion of the building to collapse upon impact.
Suicide Bomber Attacks Police Station in Northwest Pakistan, Killing 23 Officers
The suicide attack, one of the bloodiest since January, resulted in “multiple causalities,” according to a statement from Pakistan’s army. Six militants also opened fire, sparking an hour-long gunfight between them and security officials before “the terrorists” were put down. Local police officers also stated that all six attackers had been killed.
Separately, the statement stated that “troops killed 27 insurgents” in a series of operations in the same location.
Authorities warned the death toll from Tuesday’s attack was likely to grow because some of the officers were in serious condition. The bodies of the 23 security forces murdered have been taken to a hospital, according to Mohammad Adnan, a senior police official.
According to local police official Kamal, the attack targeted the Daraban police station in Dera Ismail Khan, a city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan. The province was once a bastion of the terrorist Pakistani Taliban group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP.
Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan, or TJP, a recently created militant group thought to be an offshoot of the TTP, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying it targeted officials at the police station. According to the statement, 20 officers were slain. This, however, could not be independently verified.
According to Khan, a bigger number of security personnel from throughout the country have recently maintained a regular presence at the Daraban police station, where they were conducting intelligence-based operations against militants in the region with the assistance of local police.
Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi condemned the incident and expressed condolences to the families of those killed. In a statement, he stated that “their sacrifices would not be in vain” and that such attacks would not diminish security forces’ commitment.
In a statement, Pakistan’s caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti condemned the onslaught, branding it “terrorism.”
This year has seen an increase in violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with many deadly incursions by militants. In January, a suicide bomber masquerading as a police officer assaulted a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing at least 101 people, the majority of whom were police officers.
Since 2022, the Pakistani Taliban has increased attacks on security troops. Authorities claim that since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 2021, the insurgents have grown more confident.
The TTP, despite being a different organization, is closely associated with the Afghan Taliban.
Dera Ismail Khan is close to South Waziristan, a former insurgent haven. After militants attacked an army-run school in 2014, killing more than 150 people, predominantly schoolchildren, Pakistan’s army launched repeated operations against them.
The TJP claims to be affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban, abbreviated TTP, a proscribed armed group that has long targeted the state and its institutions.
Dera Ismail Khan is a former TTP stronghold that aspires to destabilize the government and replace it with strict Islamic rules.
With multiple deadly incidents, violence has increased in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A suicide bomber hit a mosque in Peshawar in January, killing at least 101 people.
Authorities claim that since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in 2021, fighters have grown more confident. Though a separate organization, the TTP is closely associated with the Taliban in Afghanistan.