NS News Online Desk: At least 11 security personnel, including an army officer, were killed and 13 others injured on Saturday when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a military camp in the Swat district of northwestern Pakistan, army officials said. The suicide bomber struck in the Kabal area of the Swat district, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), a media wing of Pakistan army said in a statement. In a statement, the outlawed militants groups Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi strongly condemned the attack and expressed his grief over the losses of security personnel. “Coward enemy terrorists are no match for our valiant sons of the soil and no attack can deter us in pursuing our struggle against the menace of terrorism,” Abbasi said in a statement.
Swat, a tourist spot located in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is also known as the “Switzerland of Pakistan”. The valley was once a TTP stronghold from 2007 to 2009.
The Pakistani army had launched a large scale operation against the militants in the Swat valley in 2009 and destroyed their hideouts within two months. The last deadly attacked carried out by TTP militants in Swat in January 2013 had targeted a religious center and killed 21 worshipers and injured 70 others.
Swat is also a home town of Nobel Peace Prize winer, Malala Yousafzai. In 2012, Taliban militants had shot and severely injured Malala Yousafzai, who has campaigned for girls’ education in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt. They allegedly carried out the attack on the orders of Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah.
The brazen attack on Yousafzai, who was 15 at the time, sparked outrage in Pakistan and internationally. She was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, alongside Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.