PESHAWAR -- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police are deploying highly trained Special Combat Unit (SCU) commandos throughout Peshawar and Mardan District to quickly respond to potential terrorist attacks.
"A contingent of the SCU has been deployed in Peshawar and another in the Mardan region for the quickest response to any terrorist attack and to assist local police in countering terrorism," KP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Salahuddin Khan Mehsud told Pakistan Forward.
The deployment began in December.
The SCU contingents are highly trained to cope with any extraordinary law and order situation, he said.
"We are planning to deploy more contingents of the SCU in all the regions of the province," he said.
The most elite force
The 150-strong SCU was set up in 2014 by then-KP IGP Nasir Khan Durrani to provide rapid response to terrorist and suicide attacks, hostage-taking situations, and other emergencies.
The unit is made up elite police officers from the province, who volunteer for training in special operations by army, navy and police instructors in Peshawar, Nowshera, Karachi and other cities.
"The SCU [was based on] the Special Services Group of the Pakistani army to exclusively respond in extraordinary situations," Durrani told Pakistan Forward.
The SCU, based in Peshawar, is usually airlifted to remote areas of the province wherever its services are needed, according to Durrani.
"These are the most trained personnel of the police force, who are always ready to move to any place whenever needed," he said.
Ready to counter terrorism
The deployment of the SCU will further strengthen the regular police's ability to counter terrorism, say police officials in Peshawar.
"The 45-man contingent of the SCU deployed in Peshawar is equipped with sophisticated modern weapons and technology for effective operations in case of any terrorist attack," Capital City Police Officer Mohammad Tahir told Pakistan Forward.
The Special Services Group of the Pakistani army helps train the commandos, making them the most highly trained force within the KP Police, he said.
The SCU also learns diving, water-related rescue operations and first aid, swimming, boating, jumping from helicopters and other generally aquatic skills from the navy, he said.
"[The SCU commandos] were taken to all the sensitive buildings and places in the provincial capital to carry out mock security exercises and become familiar with these places in case of emergency," Tahir said.
The SCU personnel deployed in Mardan similarly carried out drills at public and private universities, government buildings and other public places in December.