A deadly explosion occurred in the Swat Valley region of Pakistan. The incident took place in a counter-terror office and resulted in the death of 17 people, most of whom were police officers. Additionally, more than 50 people were injured, and several buildings collapsed as a result of the blast. Four of the deceased were civilians.
The Swat Valley region was once controlled by Islamist militants until they were pushed out in 2009. Since then, Pakistani counter-terrorist forces have maintained a strong presence in the area, which has been prone to insurgency. While the Pakistani Taliban group has carried out several attacks targeting security forces in recent months, they have not claimed responsibility for these explosions.
Initially, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif referred to the incident as a “suicide attack,” but later tweeted that the nature of the blast was being investigated. Provincial police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which neighbors Afghanistan, stated that there was no evidence of an attack and that the explosion could have been caused by an electrical fault igniting ammunition stored in the center.
The regional chief of the counter-terrorism department, Sohail Khalid, also stated that the explosions did not appear to be an act of terrorism. He explained that there was a store in the center with a large quantity of weapons, and they believed that there may have been a blast due to some carelessness. However, Khalid stated that they were keeping all their options open as they continued to investigate the incident.
The Swat Valley has a history of violence, and in 2012, Taliban militants shot and wounded Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai in the region. As of now, the investigation into the cause of the explosion is ongoing.