The suicide bomber who rammed his car into a police station’s main gate in Pakistan’s northwest used 120 kilograms (264lbs) of explosives, authorities said on Wednesday.

The attack — one of the deadliest in months — killed 23 officers and wounded 32 others the day before.

Inayat Ullah, head of the bomb disposal unit, told The Associated Press the explosives were fitted in the attacker’s vehicle.

Pakistan Suicide BomberSecurity officials examine damages on the site of a bombing at a police station on the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan (AP Photo)

The assault, which also included five other militants opening fire before officers gunned them down, targeted Daraban police station in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan and is a former stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban, or TTP.

The militant Tehreek-e-Jihad Pakistan group — believed to be an offshoot of the TTP — claimed responsibility for the attack.

A large number of security forces from across Pakistan were recently deployed at the station for intelligence operations against militants in the area in co-ordination with the local police, authorities said.

In a statement, the military said it held an overnight funeral for those killed, which was attended by senior army officials.

The attack came when the country’s powerful army chief, General Asim Munir was on an official visit to the United States.

He assumed his position in November 2022, days after the TTP ended its ceasefire with Pakistan’s government.

Since then, the militant group has stepped up its attacks targeting security forces.

Pakistan Suicide BomberA suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle at a police station’s main gate in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, killing several policemen and wounding more than a dozen others, officials said (AP Photo)

The deadliest was in January when 101 people were killed, mostly police officers, after a suicide bomber disguised as a policeman attacked a mosque in the city of Peshawar.

Authorities said they have increased their intelligence-based operations, killing more than 500 militants since 2022.

Tuesday’s attack has further strained relations between Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan’s Taliban-led administration.

Pakistan has previously accused the Taliban of hosting leaders of the TTP across the shared border from where they launched their attacks.

In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said it summoned a Taliban-appointed representative from Kabul to protest the latest assault.

It demanded Afghanistan “fully investigate and take stern action against perpetrators” of the attack and also “publicly condemn the terrorist incident at the highest level”.

In Kabul, Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemned the attack on Wednesday, promising an investigation.

But he said things happening in Pakistan should not always be linked to his country, adding that Islamabad should pay closer attention to security matters because the attack happened hundreds of kilometres from the border.

Mr Mujahid added they do not allow anyone to use their territory to carry out attacks against Pakistan or any other country.

The attack drew condemnation from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who tweeted: “We stand with the people of Pakistan in ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice and offer our deep condolences to the families of the victims.”

Nasser Kanaani, the spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, also denounced the attacks and extended “sympathies to the families of the victims,” on X, formerly known as Twitter.