Struggle against Terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Struggle against Terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Struggle against Terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Last month’s terror blasts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) brought about profound grief and heartache as a police officer mourned the loss of his comrades. For two decades, the undertrained and ill-equipped police force in KP has heroically confronted terrorists, enduring significant casualties in their pursuit of peace. Despite the Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan offering a glimmer of hope, the reality remains grim, with police officers directly in the line of fire.

Police Causalities

The police force is a primary target for terrorist groups like the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and others that have relentlessly attacked security forces since the Taliban takeover in August 2021. According to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies database, there have been 368 attacks on security forces, resulting in 652 deaths and 1,049 injuries. Of these casualties, 244 were police officers, 101 were military personnel, 55 were Levies, and 29 were FC personnel. Since 2001, a staggering 2,100 police personnel have lost their lives, and 7,000 have been injured due to the escalating terrorism threat.

Struggle against Terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Despite the continuous threat to their lives, the morale of the police force remains steadfast. Many examples exist of their bravery, such as a recent incident where a policeman chased and attempted to stop a suicide bomber, saving numerous lives. However, the question persists: why are the police the primary targets of terrorists?

Several theories attempt to explain this phenomenon. Some believe that the police are perceived as a soft target due to their lack of proper training and equipment to combat militants effectively. The KP Police, on the other hand, claim that they have successfully prevented militants from infiltrating the heartland of the country. The TTP, however, views the police as a significant obstacle to their plan of targeting the military and has warned them multiple times to disassociate from the military.

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Demoralizing the first line of defense

The TTP’s attacks on the police are part of a larger strategy to demoralize them, weaken their resistance, and ultimately draw the military into urban centers. By targeting police stations in or near cities, far from military installations, the TTP aims to spread the conflict beyond borders, supporting the Taliban’s assertion that they operate within Pakistan, not from safe havens in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has formally protested and urged the Taliban to halt TTP attacks, but there has been no public acknowledgment from Kabul. International watchdogs and organizations, including a United Nations Security Council monitoring committee, support Pakistan’s claims that the TTP seeks to regain control in the country’s former tribal areas. The TTP’s expanding influence in Baluchistan, southern Punjab, and northern Sindh, connected via major transport lines, poses a serious threat to Pakistan’s internal security, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Underestimating the threat posed by terrorism only plays into the terrorists’ hands. The TTP’s ideological strength, fueled by religious madrassahs and groups, should not be underestimated, as they can exploit the religious and ideological paradigms to inspire their followers. The state’s focus on kinetic measures is essential, but it should also address the narrative-building efforts of these terrorist groups and pay attention to improving the public image of the police force.

How to counter-terrorism

Struggle against Terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, To effectively counter the terrorism threat, the police force requires strengthening and adequate intelligence support. This would enable them to secure cities and free up the army and paramilitary forces to address border threats more effectively. The counterterrorism departments in KP face challenges like tenure security, capacity, training, and budgetary constraints. Nevertheless, faith in the police and CTDs from superior security institutions and civilian governments is crucial in overcoming these obstacles.

Struggle against Terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, In conclusion, the police force in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has bravely endured two decades of terrorist onslaughts, but the battle is far from over. By recognizing the significance of the police’s role and providing them with the necessary support, Pakistan can take significant strides in countering terrorism and securing its internal stability.

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