At least 14 policemen were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a police training ground in Mingora, the main city in North-West Frontier Province district of Swat on Sunday morning.

The attack, the deadliest in Swat after the Pakistan Army said it had defeated the Taliban after a three-month operation and made it safe for people to return to their homes in the valley, underlined the fragile peace that has been restored in the region.

The dead policemen were new recruits to the local police force and were being given training at a police station when the suicide bomber struck. At least 20 were injured in the attack.

The U.N said last week that 1.67 million refugees out of an estimated 2 million who were displaced by the May-July 2009 anti-Taliban army operation in Malakand region had returned to their homes after Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani announced that the government forces had emerged victorious.

But sporadic fighting has continued, and the Army claimed to have destroyed a training centre for suicide bombers outside Mingora on Saturday. The Army says it has killed nearly 2000 militants in the operation, and in the process lost 170 of its soldiers. However, leader of the Swat Taliban, Fazlullah, and several other top rungers of the Swat Taliban, are still at large.

Fear spread in Mingora after the attack, according to reports reaching here. The streets were deserted and shops were shut.

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