Ammunition explosions attributed to a short circuit yesterday Monday in a building of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism agency resulted in the death of at least 13 people and the wounding of 50 others, according to the authorities, who initially made the assumption that it was a bomb attack.

The explosions “inside” a building in Kabal, Sawat Valley (north-west), caused it to “completely collapse”, said Khalid Sohail, an officer of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism agency.

The chief of police in Sawat, Safi Ullah Gadapour, told reporters that the explosions were caused by a short circuit in the basement, where “grenades and other explosives” were stored.

“There is no indication that they were caused by an attack or kamikaze,” he added.

Another police officer, Akhtar Hayat, earlier told AFP that “two or three bombs” had exploded. According to him, the “majority” of the victims “were policemen”.

Since the beginning of the year, authorities have blamed the Pakistani Taliban for at least two attacks targeting major police facilities.

Uncertain ceasefire

In January, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in a crowd at an Islamic mosque inside a police compound in Peshawar (northwest): 80 policemen were killed; the building collapsed.

In February, five policemen were killed when members of the Taliban Movement in Pakistan (TTP), an organization founded in 2007, attacked a police building in Karachi (south), sparking an hours-long firefight. The KTP said it launched the attack because security forces were carrying out extrajudicial executions.

Pakistan has been experiencing an alarming escalation of violence since the Taliban seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021.

KTP militants have for years controlled entire areas in northwestern Pakistan, including the Sawat Valley. But they were forced to flee by extensive military operations after an attack in 2014 that left 150 dead, mostly students.

It was in the Sawat Valley where Malala Yousafzai, then 15, was shot in the head by a KTP member in 2012 while campaigning for girls’ education, a campaign for which she would later receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

A precarious ceasefire agreement between the KPT and Islamabad collapsed in November 2022.