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TTP claims responsibility, warns of more attacks
By Javed Aziz Khan
D.I. KHAN – The culprits of the June 25 suicide attack on the Kulachi police station in Dera Ismail (D.I.) Khan were foreigners, probably from Central Asia, including a young, combat-trained woman, investigators told Central Asia Online.
“We have collected ... body parts of the two bombers,” the Deputy Inspector General of Police for D.I. Khan Imtiaz Shah told Central Asia Online. “We have also recorded the statements of the eyewitnesses who heard them talking to each other ... in some foreign language.”
The bodies’ complexions and other evidence suggest the two bombers were either Uzbek or Chechen, he added.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) identified the bombers as Uzbeks. In a June 27 statement, it said a husband-and-wife team attacked and bombed the station and warned of more attacks by married couples, Express News reported.
D.I. Khan is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) southernmost district, adjoining Punjab Province and North Waziristan. The town remains the first target of militants coming from Waziristan, since it is the nearest high-profile city.
“The burqa that the woman bomber was wearing and which was found intact is not (the style) used by the locals,” Shah said. “It resembles the one being used by the Arabs. … One of their Kalashnikovs had something written in Arabic.”
At least seven policemen and a civilian were killed and two policemen were wounded when the young couple, both wearing suicide jackets, stormed the Kulachi police station, 25km from D.I. Khan city.
Shootings and hostage situation
The bombers fatally shot some police officers and took hostage nine surviving policemen and a detainee inside the lockup for several hours.
“We rushed to the spot with more contingents of police and Elite Force and encircled the police station,” Shah said. “When we sent a party of nine cops, including five in an armoured personnel carrier (APC), the female militant ran toward the vehicle to target it.”
Before she reached the APC, a policeman shot her, causing her to fall and explode, Shah said. The blast destroyed the APC and set fire to other vehicles, but the APC passengers escaped. Police shot the remaining bomber as he ran toward them, Shah said.
The commandoes rescued the nine policemen stranded in the building.
Police are ready
The dead policemen sacrificed their lives and thwarted a major terrorist effort, KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said.
The police are on the alert for more such attacks, he said. “The situation can never improve until Pakistan … and Afghanistan evolve a joint strategy regarding the war on terror with complete sincerity,” he said.
After reports by different intelligence agencies, the police force in the provincial capital, Peshawar, has gone on high alert.
“The police force in the outer cordon, as well as those performing duty inside the city, are on alert,” said Capital City Police Officer Liaqat Ali Khan.
The police showed they are ready to make any sacrifice to eliminate terrorism, KP Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti said.
The KP government is ready to negotiate with militants, but only if they accept the government’s writ, Hoti said, reiterating his offer of talks.
“This is not the time to play politics on the issues confronting the country,” he said at an event where payments were distributed to bombing survivors in Peshawar. “We need to sit together to root out the scourge of terrorism.”
“The terrorists want to cause instability in the country through D.I. Khan-like attacks,” said Pakistan People’s Party-affiliated KP Excise and Taxation Minister Liaqat Shabab. “This is a conspiracy, but the government is tightening the noose around the terrorists.”