Scores killed in Pakistan blasts

A man injured in a suicide bomb attack arrives at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan on Friday. Photo: AP.  

In what is being billed as al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden striking from his grave, suicide bombers killed 80 people and injured over 100 in the north-west Pakistani town of Charsadda on Friday morning. Claiming responsibility for the attack on a camp of the Frontier Constabulary, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has threatened more such strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan to avenge bin Laden's killing.

This is the bloodiest suicide attack in recent months. The two suicide bombers detonated themselves within minutes of each other outside a training camp of the Frontier Constabulary at Shabqadar around 6 a.m. in the morning just as new recruits were preparing to return home after training. Of the 80 killed, 69 were from the Frontier Constabulary — a federal paramilitary force — and the remaining were civilians. The police fear that the death toll could go up as the condition of many of the injured was serious.

The recruits had finished their training programme on May 5 and were apparently being sent home in batches in view of the security situation in the province. Some of them were waiting for transport to take them home when the first blast went off while the others were killed and injured as the second suicide bomber detonated himself in the midst of the chaos caused by the first explosion. The toll would have been higher but for the early morning hour when shops had still not opened.

Though the TTP was quick to claim responsibility and warn of bigger attacks, police personnel said this could also be in retaliation of the ongoing military operations against terrorists in neighbouring Mohmand tribal agency.

The Army launched the second phase of operations against terrorists in Mohmand on April 22 “under strong demand of local population and political administration of the area who were constantly being subjected to terrorists' atrocities including suicide bombings, target killing of tribal maliks, kidnapping for ransom and extortion''.

The U.S. and the U.K. were quick to condemn the attack and offer condolences to the bereaved families. In a statement, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “These attacks were cowardly and indiscriminate, killing many innocent bystanders and targeting those who serve to protect Pakistan. They prove once again that such extremist groups have no regard for the value of human life. The U.K. is committed to standing with Pakistan in the fight against violent extremism and we will continue to work with Pakistan to tackle this shared threat.''

The U.S. embassy in Pakistan said terrorists have shown time and again that they are the true enemy of the people and government of Pakistan. “We deeply respect the nation's sacrifices, and will continue to stand with Pakistan in our joint struggle to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda and allied terrorist organisations.''

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 6:49:56 PM |

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