Taliban's constant targeting of police in Pakistan demoralizes many officers..
Farewell to soldiers killed in a Taliban attack. Such attacks have killed many policemen, and demoralised others. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Dec 7 2012 (IPS) - The Taliban’s ruthless campaign against security forces has demoralised the forces, who are unable to put up a strong resistance to Islamic militants.
“Taliban militants have established a world record of savagery. They have slaughtered soldiers and common people with knives and displayed their heads in public places to send a message across the forces that they must not chase them at the behest of government,” says a police inspector in Qissakhwani bazaar in the old city area of Peshawar in northern Pakistan.
Militants have carried out 1,962 acts of terrorism since 2008 in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province adjacent to the Afghan border. These have killed 6,200 persons and injured more than 9,000 others, according to a report by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in the north of Pakistan.
These included 146 suicide attacks that have killed 826 policemen, 222 Frontier Constabulary personnel and 300 army soldiers, the local government said.
“The police are less equipped than militants, who have rocket launchers, bombs and hand-grenades,” police inspector Jawad Ali tells IPS. He says that the militants’ ferocity against security forces have demoralised the forces to the extent that most police stations and checkpoints are locked up during nights.
Some personnel seek medical leave to stay away from duty, prompting the government to issue a notification banning vacation except in unavoidable circumstances. “Genuinely ill personnel get required leave whereas those enjoying good health should stay alert to threats,” Jawad Ali says.
“We have received about 450 applications from policemen seeking leave on health grounds,” says Dr Wasan Khan at the Police Services Hospital. “Only 15 had illnesses for which they were advised rest. Others had arrived only to get a doctor’s prescription that they were ill and couldn’t perform duty.”