PESHAWAR: At least 24 law-enforcement personnel have been martyred and 26 injured in several terrorist attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since the banned terrorist outfit Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) launched the Operation Al-Badar late last month, say the police.

The TTP’s March 30 announcement for the launch of a special operation against law-enforcement agencies has led to a surge in its attacks in tribal districts, southern region and other parts of the province.

A senior police official told Dawn on condition of anonymity that the law-enforcement agencies were working on a multi-pronged strategy to defeat terrorism amid growing attacks.

“Terrorists are attacking soft targets to sow fear among them. It shows that our strategy of denying land and resources to them [TTP] is working,” he said.

The official said that the TTP attacks against law-enforcement agencies in the province had surged compared to last year when the banned militant Islamic State group’s Khorasan chapter (IS-K) was carrying out most of such attacks.

Police official claims strategy to deny land, resources to terrorists working

The official said that the TTP issued around 35 ‘threats’ to attack law-enforcement agencies in the current month and the IS-K three only.

He, however, said that the IS-K appeared to be ‘less of a threat’ in future as its roots lied in Middle East.

“I do not foresee the IS-K to be a bigger threat than the TTP,” he said.

The official said that four hand grenade attacks, 12 incidents of firing, three targeted killings and a rocket attack took place in different parts of KP last month.

The official said that these attacks resulted into martyrdom of 24 LEA personnel as well as 26 others were injured.

He said that the TTP claims of martyring over 40 security personnel during this period were not true.

He said that the law-enforcement agencies were working on a strategy against terrorists and that included the denial of land and sanctuaries to terrorists, limit their capacity, defeat and eliminate them through intelligence-based operations, and protect public life.

The official said that the law-enforcement agencies also arrested 192 terrorists and killed 51 in operations, while 17 most wanted terrorists carrying head money were also taken into custody in the province.

He said that the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with KP was one of the most significant milestones, which expanded the role of the writ of the government to previously ungoverned large swaths of territory.

The official said that the police had imparted really good training to the Khasadar and Levies personnel.

He, however, said that counter-terrorism required a multi-pronged strategy and the law- enforcement was its only one aspect.

The official said that the government needed to focus on educating people, countering the terrorists’ narrative as well as improving service delivery and ensuring the development of the areas to defeat terrorism.

Last Friday, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had expressed concern about the deteriorating law and order situation and attacks on the personnel of law- enforcement agencies in the province and decided to form a high-level committee to regularly oversee the implementation of the recommendations made in the National Action Plan to counter terrorism.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2022

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