A senior police officer, along with two constables assigned to his protection, embraced martyrdom in a midnight militant attack on Sarband police station in Peshawar. Hours later, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa counter terrorism department (CTD) tracked down facilitators of the attack and neutralized two of them.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sardar Hussain and his armed guards, constables Irshad Khan and Jehanzeb, embraced martyrdom in the attack on Sarband police station on the outskirts of Peshawar.
Initially, the attack was reported as targeting two checkposts under the jurisdiction of this police station. Officials are now acknowledging the attack took place on the police station. The proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Intelligence-based Operation in Shinwari Qilla
While the attackers fled in the dark of night, hours later the CTD said it hunted down two militants believed to be involved in the attack. The two suspected facilitators of the attack on the police station were eliminated in an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in the Shinwari Qilla area of Sarband. CTD officials said an exchange of fire took place between the militants and CTD personnel, and some militants are suspected to have escaped.
“CTD received information from intelligence agencies about the militants’ presence in Shinwari Qilla in Sarband area. Information was verified on technical grounds, and the militants were surrounded,” a CTD officer said.
Following an intense exchange of fire, the bodies of two militants were recovered, along with arms and ammunition in their possession.
CTD officials said one of the two militants killed in the IBO had been involved in suicide attacks on Additional IG Police Ashraf Noor in 2017, and Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour in 2018.
Militants have advanced weapons, IG admits
Officials have also conceded that the militants carried out a ‘coordinated’ attack and used advanced equipment such as night vision capable “thermal sights” during the attack.
“Since it was night time, naturally we did not have any method to see the enemy and they [police official and his gunmen] fell victim to the enemy [attack],” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police IG Moazzam Jah Ansari told reporters.
He said, “Sniper weapons or night vision sights were used for the first time by militants in Peshawar.” The same weapon accessories had been used by militants in attacks in districts Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Dera Ismail Khan in the past, he added.
“But we are ready to face the challenge,” he said, adding that the provincial government released funds for the purchase of the thermal weapons sights, with 40 already purchased, of which 20 each have been dispatched for districts Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan.
The IGP disclosed that police is also considering using night vision capable unmanned aerial platforms, or ‘drones’, to surveil the militants.