15 cops among 37 killed in Pak

Written by Press Trust of India | Islamabad | Updated: Sep 1 2009, 04:34am hrs
Violence buffeted Pakistans restive north-west as a suicide bomber targeted a police station killing 15 policemen in the Swat valley on Sunday, while 20 militants and two policemen were killed in clashes elsewhere in the region.

The suicide attacker blew himself up at a ground at the police station in Mingora, the main city in Swat district. The blast killed 15 members of a new community police force raised to help security forces take on the Taliban. Over 25 others were injured in the attack.

The attack raised questions about the Pakistan governments claims that all major towns and villages in Swat had been secured after a three-month-long operation against Taliban fighters led by Maulana Fazlullah. Brigadier Tahir Hameed, the army officer leading operations in Swat, said 18 militants were killed in clashes with security forces during search and clearance operations. He told reporters in Mingora that more rebels were arrested and heavy weapons seized.

In a separate incident, deputy superintendent of police Shafqatullah Khan and his driver were killed when militants ambushed his car in Karak district late last night. One of Khans guards was seriously injured in the attack while two militants were also killed in retaliatory firing by the officers guards.

Meanwhile, the army said security forces had captured 44 militants during search and clearance operations in Swat and other parts of the troubled Malakand division.