(UnitedVoice.com) – A major terrorist attack in Pakistan has killed at least a hundred people, most of them cops. Investigators say a suicide bomber wore a police uniform to penetrate a secure zone. The attack, in the notoriously lawless city of Peshawar, has been claimed by a hardline Islamist group.
— Pakistan News (@pakistaninews) February 2, 2023
On January 30, a suicide bomber detonated himself inside a mosque in the secured Police Zone of the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. The bomb, estimated to contain up to 26 pounds of TNT and a vest loaded with ball-bearing shrapnel, was powerful enough to bring the mosque’s roof down on the worshippers, leaving more than 100 people dead. Local hospitals say another 217 were injured.
The city is one of the most socially conservative in Pakistan, and is a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban, TTP. The city’s police force lives, and mostly works, inside a secure zone with restricted access for the general public. Police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari says the perpetrator of Monday’s bombing wore a police uniform to get inside the police compound.
Following the attack, a TTP commander, Sarbakaf Mohmand, claimed responsibility in a tweet. However, hours later, a spokesman for the terror group’s senior leadership denied that claim. He said it isn’t TTP policy to attack mosques, and that anyone who did so could face punishment from the group — but he didn’t explain why Mohmand had made his claim. It’s possible TTP decided to deny responsibility after the Taliban-controlled Afghan regime, the group’s main supporter, condemned attacks on religious sites as against the teachings of Islam.
Pakistan has had a complicated relationship with the Taliban and its offshoots for decades. Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, supported the original Taliban regime in Afghanistan — but that blew up in their face when TTP was formed in 2007, and the Afghan Taliban began supporting its war against Pakistan’s police and military.
Now that the Taliban rule Afghanistan again, Pakistan may have hoped the Kabul regime would bring its splinter groups under control. Monday’s lethal blast has killed any hopes of that for now.
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