KARACHI: The United States handed over $50,000 worth of equipment to tackle improvised explosive devices (IED)to the police as part of the Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) programme.
The kits, which carry around 85 items, including a computerised scanner and explosion-resistant suits, will be used by a team of five policemen who are being trained by US experts. “This equipment will help us detect all kinds of explosives,” said Inspector General of Police Fayyaz Ahmed Leghari at the ceremony. “But our requirement for such equipment is much more considering the security threats we face these days.”
In recent months, terrorists have targeted religious congregations and law enforcement agencies using hard-to-detect IEDs concealed in cement blocks or hidden in obscure places. IGP Leghari said terrorists were continuously coming up with new ways to wreak havoc but this latest equipment will help deter IED attacks. “We will also be using our old techniques to find and defuse bombs.”
He also said extremist groups have killed five policemen in the past three days. “They are trying to demoralise us because of our recent success in busting their network and apprehending their men.” He said around a dozen police stations in the city were on the terrorists’ hit list. “Nevertheless, we are not deterred and the police will capture them.”
ATA’s programme manager Robert Clark said terrorism had become a problem for a number of countries and the US has been imparting training to law enforcement agencies to counter it.
Since 2003, the US experts have trained around 500 Pakistani law enforcers for close-quarter battles, which are fought in flats and narrow lanes. At a similar ceremony in November, US consul-general in Karachi William Martin handed over apparatus to check explosives material, a high-roof vehicle, four double cabin vehicles and 500 shields for riot control to the Sindh police.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2012.
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