PESHAWAR -- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police is further strengthening its Special Combat Unit (SCU) and improving the highly trained commandos' capacity to fight terrorism and militancy, officials and analysts say.
In the latest effort, KP Police recently set up a new office compound for the commandos, complete with the latest surveillance and combat equipment.
The SCU is the highest trained force in the province. They are capable of rapid deployment for sting operations, interdictions and counter-terrorism operations alone or in support of other police and law enforcement agencies.
The SCU was established in May 2014, when 150 commandos were trained in counter-terrorism operations. In February 2015, 32 women commandos joined the force.
The commandos also received training from the army and navy to carry out special operations, including airborne and amphibious operations.
"The SCU is a special unit that will be used in case of extraordinary situations anywhere in KP," KP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nasir Khan Durrani told Pakistan Forward.
Durrani inaugurated the new office compound at the Elite Police Training School in Nowshera on September 29. He also inaugurated the new operations room at the school and handed over the latest modern equipment to the SCU to improve its technical capacity.
He lauded the SCU officers for volunteering to take on the toughest challenges the province faces.
The IGP inspected the practical demonstration of raids and operations by the SCU commandos and was all praise for the overall standard of training.
"We have provided all the modern technology, guns and other facilities that are required to deal with any extraordinary emergency," he said. "We will further provide more and the latest equipment to the SCU and the Elite Police Force."
The KP government approved special incentives for the SCU commandos. "In addition to their salaries and other incentives, these commandos are being given Rs 15,000 (US $143) additional allowance," Durrani said.
"This unit has been trained by instructors from the Special Services Group of the Pakistan Army and every effort has been made to inculcate in them the best tactical skills and operational capabilities," said Ashfaq Anwar, senior superintendent of police of the central police office in Peshawar.
The SCU has been trained both for the hilly terrain and sandy plains of the province, he said. "The specially trained commandos also have been exposed to the snowy peaks of Babusar, Shandoor and Swat,” Anwar told Pakistan Forward.
To improve its maneuverability and effectiveness throughout the province, the SCU is moved to the north, south and central zones of the province every six months to familiarise the commandos with the climate, environment, geography and terrain of the area, he said.
"In a very short span of time the Special Combat Unit has proved its utility in a number of difficult counter-terrorism operations throughout the province," he said.
The IGP recently provided the SCU with the latest surveillance gadgetry to further enhance its operational efficacy, he said. This is in addition to equipment already provided to the unit that has helped ensure its remarkable edge over terrorists and militants.
Anwar added that a French Police Anti-Terrorist Unit reviewed the training and tactical capacity of the SCU and praised the extraordinary valour of the commandos and their ability to undertake risky operations in a difficult environment.
The authorities must continue to provide the SCU with the latest technology, protective gear and weapons to counter terrorism, said Zafarullah Khan, a security analyst and former senior police officer.
"Since the province has been struck hard by terrorism for over a decade, a dedicated force like the SCU was much needed to cope with any extraordinary situation," he told Pakistan Forward.
"KP police and people of the province have fought the war against the terrorists bravely and rendered many sacrifices for peace in Pakistan," he said.