Five police officials were martyred, and 27 people injured, after explosives detonated near a police van in the Mamund tehsil of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Bajaur district on Monday. The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.
According to police, the officials were en route to provide security to polio vaccination teams when their vehicle was targeted. They said several of the injured were in critical condition and the death toll could rise. They also confirmed that all casualties were of police personnel.
All deceased and injured were initially shifted to Khar Hospital, where authorities declared an emergency. Police also issued a call for blood donations to help the hospital treat all victims. However, 10 of the critically injured were subsequently referred to a Peshawar medical facility.
The ongoing polio campaign in the area has been suspended due to the blast. According to a Rescue 1122 statement, rescue teams in Mohmand and Lower Dir districts are also on “alert.”
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman condemned the attack in Bajaur in a statement posted on X, adding the PPP stands in solidarity with the families of the five personnel martyred in the explosion. “Terrorists have attacked not only the police but also the health of our children. An attack on the security of the anti-polio team should not be tolerated under any circumstances, it is directly related to the health of our children,” she said, lamenting the militants did not want to eradicate polio from the country.
Interim Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Syed Arshad Hussain Shah also condemned the blast and expressed grief over the loss of lives. He also condoled with the victims’ families and directed the district administration to immediately provide health facilities to the injured.
“Such cowardly attacks will not dampen the police’s spirit. KP Police have given numerous sacrifices for the protection of people’s lives and properties,” he said adding the martyrs’ heirs would be assisted through every possible means.
Pakistan and Afghanistan remain the only two countries in the world where polio remains endemic. Militants in both countries frequently target vaccination teams, hampering drives to eradicate the disease.