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Bomber hits local court in Charsadda, kills 15

PESHAWAR – As many as 15 people including two policemen were killed and several others were injured in a suicide blast in the premises of a local court in Charsadda district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Monday.

The bomber attacked as lawyers and litigants were arriving during the morning rush hour in the town of Shabqadar. District police chief Sohail Khalid confirmed the suicide attack and said two of the dead were policemen.

“We are investigating the nature of the blast. According to initial reports, a suicide bomber entered the complex and a policeman on duty tried to stop him but he blew himself up,” he said. Several nearby vehicles caught fire soon after the explosion.

The rescue officials and a contingent of security forces arrived at the scene and cordoned off the area. The injured persons were shifted to nearby hospitals. According to the district police officer, four of the injured are in critical condition who are being shifted to Peshawar.

Shabqadar is near the Mohmand tribal district, and some 30 kilometres (18 miles) west of Charsadda, where terrorists attacked Bacha Khan University on January 20 in a rampage that left 21 dead. Among the victims was a chemistry professor who students said fired his own pistol at the militants before he died in a hail of bullets. Teachers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were given permission to carry firearms after the militants massacred more than 150 people at a school in Peshawar in 2014.

Pakistan has been fighting an insurgency since 2004, when militants displaced by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan began a campaign in some tribal areas. Overall levels of violence have fallen since a concerted military push against the militants' bases began in 2014, and last year saw the fewest casualties among civilians and security forces since 2007. But the threat of attacks, particularly on soft targets, remains.

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