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KP to get 1st explosives forensic lab in 2012

639 IEDs defused in 2011 in KP, bomb disposal chief says

By Zahir Shah


PESHAWAR – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) will get Pakistan’s first explosives forensic laboratory this year, adding to law enforcement resources for fighting insurgency and militancy, KP Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) chief Additional Inspector Gen of Police Shafqat Malik told Central Asia Online in an exclusive interview January 5.

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the first line of defence in the global war on terror,” Malik told Central Asia Online. His unit defused 664 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2011, he said. “You can imagine if these things had not been defused.”

Less terrorism, fewer casualties

The BDS’s performance in 2011 showed growing skill at protecting itself and the public.

"During 2010, the BDS defused 390 IEDs while about 270 exploded,” he said. “In 2011, the number of IEDS defused was 664 and those which exploded were about 469. This shows the use of IEDs has almost doubled from last year ... credit goes to the law enforcement that countered (militants’) plans.”

Remarkably, the BDS suffered no casualties in 2011, he said.

The decrease in terrorist activity in KP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas during 2011 owes much to the country’s effective strategy, he said, citing regulations on the sale and use of commercial explosives and an increase in the BDS’s equipment and personnel.

Militants had effectively used home-made devices, such as pressure-cooker bombs and explosives contained in buckets, cans and even pipes to target security forces, blow up schools and government buildings and destroy infrastructure.

Such attacks have slowed likely because militant access to explosives “had been disconnected,” while law enforcement agencies “have gone more sophisticated to counter” militants, Malik said.

The militants’ strategies changed during 2011, said Malik, an internationally certified bomb disposal, explosives and chemicals expert. “Instead of going for big car bombings, we have seen more than 100 incidents of remote-controlled improvised explosive devices (RCIEDs), which speaks to how they changed strategy after our counter-terrorism measures ... deprived them of their supplies.”

“It’s not only the law enforcement agencies (LAEs) who have modified their techniques. The militants also have started using more sophisticated means; the trend of books and diary bombs surged in 2011, and the militants have also started using booby traps to lure in the LAEs,” he said. “They did succeed for a while, but you know our training helped us in countering this strategy too.”

Pakistan in recent years beefed up its BDS.

“It was really sad that a force of only 35 people was forced to play with bombs bare-handed,” Malik said. The BDS lost more than 8 men in 2008, when the wave of terrorism started. “But from 2009 onward this force has been raised to 150 personnel. All divisions have their own bomb disposal unit, while we also provide services in the tribal areas.”

Malik hopes to establish bomb disposal units in all 25 districts of KP. He also wants more bomb-sniffing dogs, “explosives sniffers,” X-ray scanners, explosives detectors and “disrupters” that jam radio frequencies for remote-controlled bombs, he said.

“Besides modern gadgets, we now have a well-trained human resource that is key to our success as bravery of our men and (their) technique are paying off,” Malik said. “Our force is now a regular ... police force, which earlier had no service structure, and furthermore, steps are being taken to give them facilities of a special anti-terrorism force.”

Battling fertiliser bombs

Fertiliser bombs are the deadliest weapons used against coalition forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan, media reports suggest.

Making such bombs is not rocket science, Malik said, saying terrorists use explosives smuggled in from China, Central Asia and elsewhere. Ammonium nitrate is extracted from fertiliser, mixed with other products and made into bombs, which “have often caused huge destruction,” he said.

Potassium chlorate bombs are rarer in Pakistan, he said, “but after the (2002) Bali bombing, where it was used for the first time, the idea (was) also brought to Pakistan by the foreign militants.”

“The real problem was explosives were available in the tribal areas, ... but now it is being tackled through proper legislation,” Malik said.

Legislation now regulates Pakistani fertiliser factories, he said, explaining that manufacturers will start dyeing their fertilisers to permit tracking.

It would be impossible to ban such fertiliser in Pakistan because farmers need it, he said. Creating a fertiliser containing non-lethal substances would be helpful, but illegal sales of nitrate fertiliser will always be a problem, given the profit motive, he added.

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Reader Comments

  • Muslims are never hasitate in world

    July 11, 2012 @ 06:07:19AM mianwajidali.
  • It is the matter of pleasure that little bit the suitation is improving, perhaps US wants to with draw its intensive role in the time to come, I hope so in fature suitation will further improve

    March 13, 2012 @ 09:03:25AM Ashfaq Gulzar
  • ALLAH may bless our muslims humanity...

    March 10, 2012 @ 04:03:37AM Mian wajid ali.
  • Thank for inform New

    March 1, 2012 @ 06:03:22AM M.Junaid Mansoori

    February 29, 2012 @ 11:02:08AM AMAR ABBAS JOKHIO
  • May Allah bless our country .if any terrorist read this pls stop this all bcs its Ur country also ,

    February 29, 2012 @ 12:02:22AM Rana Afzal
  • its e. mail of AIG Shafqat.. Thanks for appreciating our sacrifices.. we ll continue our efforts for peace of our beloved country and rest of the world.. Regard to all Malik

    February 14, 2012 @ 12:02:36PM MALIK
  • i want to do job in police section to welfare the nation

    February 10, 2012 @ 06:02:21AM khabab Tariq Abbasi

    February 10, 2012 @ 01:02:58AM Muhammad Ehsan
  • i deslike distrucktion of muslims and oakistanies

    February 8, 2012 @ 01:02:07PM islam zaib
  • good

    February 7, 2012 @ 11:02:36AM Asfandyar
  • i want to peace in pakistan becoz pakistan is a islamic rlegion

    February 6, 2012 @ 10:02:15PM zafar
  • This is an eye opener for me coz me; considering myself as general public have a common understanding tht the teerorists are winning on us by their lethal deadly attacks. v were never informed tht our Law enforcement agencies were also doing their best to counter it. This article has given me the confidence to say tht we will and we already are fighting back positively. Surely God will keep on updating us further so v can kill the foreign menace for good-Inshah Allah. Because of these injected pests in our country, the whole nation is facing death and death all over. Thanks to Allah, our sons r not asleep n they r doing their best to fight back. God bless our nation n its contributors-Ameen

    February 5, 2012 @ 04:02:27PM Arsal
  • this is really helpul fr us ................thnx...

    February 4, 2012 @ 09:02:34PM waheed
  • Government, please, let us survive.

    February 3, 2012 @ 06:02:12AM jawad noor