International

Pakistan blast death toll 102

With the death toll in Friday's suicide attack near a government facility in the Mohmand tribal agency rising to 102, it is being billed as the deadliest bomb attack in Pakistan this year. But, by virtue of occurring in a region prone to violence and where media access is limited, this suicide attack quickly slipped down in the headlines on Saturday and became a highlighted statistic because of the lives it consumed.

As the rubble of about 50-odd buildings was cleared, more bodies were pulled out while several of the injured succumbed to their injuries; taking the toll to 102. By evening, the number of injured stood at 168. Many of those dead and injured had come to Yaka Ghund sub-division — the site of the blast — for collecting rations that are still being distributed by aid agencies in a bid to help rehabilitate the locals who have only recently returned to the tribal agency after moving out when fighting intensified between the military and the militants in 2008.

The Pakistani Taliban has apparently claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban is said to have called up local journalists and informed them that the anti-Taliban elders of Anbar sub-division were their target. The blast took place when the elders were meeting the assistant political agent (APA) of Mohmand agency. The APA and all the elders escaped unhurt.

As the agency limped back to its daily routine after the blast, the nagging fear among residents was the possibility of another clash between the militants and the security forces now that it had become clear that the Pakistani Taliban could still make inroads into an area that was supposed to have been sanitized. In fact, residents had begun returning to Mohmand only in April this year after they had been assured that it was safe to go home. With the death toll in Friday's suicide attack near a government facility in the Mohmand tribal agency rising to 102, it is being billed as the deadliest bomb attack in Pakistan this year. But, by virtue of occurring in a region prone to violence and where media access is limited, this suicide attack quickly slipped down in the headlines on Saturday and became a highlighted statistic because of the lives it consumed.

As the rubble of about 50-odd buildings was cleared, more bodies were pulled out while several of the injured succumbed to their injuries; taking the toll to 102. By evening, the number of injured stood at 168. Many of those dead and injured had come to Yaka Ghund sub-division — the site of the blast — for collecting rations that are still being distributed by aid agencies in a bid to help rehabilitate the locals who have only recently returned to the tribal agency after moving out when fighting intensified between the military and the militants in 2008.

The Pakistani Taliban has apparently claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban is said to have called up local journalists and informed them that the anti-Taliban elders of Anbar sub-division were their target. The blast took place when the elders were meeting the assistant political agent (APA) of Mohmand agency. The APA and all the elders escaped unhurt.

As the agency limped back to its daily routine after the blast, the nagging fear among residents was the possibility of another clash between the militants and the security forces now that it had become clear that the Pakistani Taliban could still make inroads into an area that was supposed to have been sanitized. In fact, residents had begun returning to Mohmand only in April this year after they had been assured that it was safe to go home.


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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 9:34:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Pakistan-blast-death-toll-102/article16192210.ece

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