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At Least 12 People Killed in Blasts at Pakistan Counterterrorism Office

According to police reports, two explosions have taken place at a counterterrorism facility in the northwest region of Pakistan, resulting in the death of at least 12 people and injuring over 50 others.

Sharifullah Khan, a police official stationed in Kabal, stated to Al Jazeera that the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Swat Valley was hit by the blasts on Monday. Although he confirmed that over 50 people were injured, he added that he did not consider the explosions as “terrorism.” According to him, the blasts were caused by a fire in the basement of the CTD building, which led to the ignition of explosive material.

The building complex accommodates the Kabal district police station and the headquarters of a reserve police force, but the Counter-Terrorism Department building suffered the most significant damage.

Akhtar Hayat, the provincial police chief, disclosed that there was an old ammunition store in the office and that authorities were investigating whether it caused the explosions or if it was a targeted attack. 

Since the beginning of the year, two large-scale attacks on police bases have been linked to the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Hayat mentioned that the majority of the fatalities were police counterterrorism officers. He added that a woman and her child who were walking past the building at the time were also among the deceased.

According to Bilal Faizi, the spokesperson for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s provincial rescue service, the search for additional injured individuals is still in its early stages.

The regional hospital administration stated that it had received several wounded people, some of whom were in critical condition.

In January, a suicide bomber exploded his vest in a mosque located in a police compound in Peshawar, a city in the northwest region, causing the building to collapse and killing over 80 officers while rubble rained down on worshippers.

In the subsequent month, a suicide squad from TTP raided a police compound in Karachi, a port city in the south, resulting in a shootout that lasted several hours and claimed five lives.

The TTP has a history of targeting law enforcement officials, accusing them of carrying out extrajudicial killings.

Pakistan has experienced a significant increase in attacks in its border regions with Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country. Islamabad claims that these offensives are being launched from Afghan territory.

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