Militants kill 23 in attack on Pakistan police station

Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan claims responsibility after truck filled with explosives detonates at base in Dera Ismail Khan, near Afghan border

A soldier at the site of the bombing at the Daraban police station, in Dera Ismail Khan. AP
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Militants killed at least 23 soldiers and wounded 36 in an attack on a police station in the north-west of Pakistan on Tuesday.

A man detonated a truck filled with explosives at the main gate of the police station in Dera Ismail Khan, before other militants armed with guns attacked the police station, a local police officer told the Associated Press.

All six assailants were killed in the shoot-out, the Pakistani military said.

“The attempt to enter the post was effectively thwarted, which forced the terrorists to ram an explosive-laden vehicle into the post, followed by a suicide bombing attack,” said the military.

“The resulting blasts led to the collapse of the building, causing multiple casualties.”

The militant group Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan (TJP) claimed responsibility for the attack and said its fighters had killed 20 police officers.

TJP is believed to be a new offshoot of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, also known as the Pakistani Taliban. The Pakistani Taliban is closely allied with the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan.

The attack happened at the Daraban police station in Dera Ismail Khan, a city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

It is about 230km from the border with Afghanistan and close to South Waziristan, where Pakistan's army has previously clashed with militants.

Pakistan's security forces have increased their presence at Daraban, where they were conducting intelligence operations against militants with the help of local police, Mr Khan told AP.

Pakistan's caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti condemned the attack as an act of “terrorism” and said he could not immediately confirm how many officers had been killed.

Violence has surged in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021.

In January, at least 101 people were killed, mostly police officers, when a suicide bomber disguised as a policeman attacked a mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Updated: December 12, 2023, 11:47 AM