Sunday, March 26, 2023

Pakistan: 100 killed in attack after “security breach”

PESHAWAR, Pakistan ( Associated Press) — A suicide attack on a mosque in a police and government compound in northwestern Pakistan exposed “security flaws,” officials said Tuesday. The death toll crossed 100 on Tuesday.

The blast at a Sunni mosque inside a major police compound in the city of Peshawar was one of the deadliest attacks against Pakistani security forces in recent years. According to Kashif Aftab Abbasi, a Peshawar police officer, 225 people were injured, some of whom are still hospitalized in critical condition.

More than 300 people were praying at the mosque and others were on their way when the attacker detonated his explosive vest on Monday morning, according to officials.

The explosion tore apart the mosque, killing and injuring dozens and blowing off part of the roof.

Then what was left of the roof collapsed, injuring several people, said Zafar Khan, a police officer. Rescuers had to clear piles of rubble to reach the trapped people.

Mohammad Aseem, a spokesman for a government hospital in Peshawar, said more bodies were pulled from the remains of the mosque on Monday night and Tuesday morning, and several seriously injured people died. “Most of them were police officers,” Aseem said of the victims.

Bilal Faizi, director of the rescue office, said crews were still clearing debris as people were believed to be still trapped. Mourners in Peshawar and elsewhere on Tuesday began burying the victims of the attack at various cemeteries.

Counter-terrorism police were investigating how the attacker gained access to the mosque, which is in a high-security area with a walled compound and other government buildings.

Ghulam Ali, the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which made Peshawar the capital, said, “Yes, it was a security breach.”

Abbasi, the official who gave the latest casualty count, agreed. “There was a security breach and the Inspector General of Police has formed an inquiry committee which will look into all aspects of the attack,” he said. It added, “action will be taken against those whose negligence” led to the incident.

Retired army general and prominent security analyst Talat Masood said Monday’s attack showed “recklessness”.

“When we know that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is active, and when we know that they have threatened to carry out attacks, there should be more security at the police compound in Peshawar,” he told The Associated Press on Tuesday. A known armed group, such as the Pakistani Taliban or TTP.

Following the shooting, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited a hospital in Peshawar and pledged “stern action” against those responsible.

“The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable. This is nothing but an attack on Pakistan.” He expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, saying that their pain “cannot be described in words.”

Authorities had not determined who was behind the attack.

Soon after Monday’s blast, TTP commander Sarbakuf Mohmand claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter.

But hours later, the group’s spokesman Mohammad Khurasani distanced the TTP from what happened, saying they do not attack religious places and that those who participate in such acts will be punished under the armed group’s rules. will be punished. His statement did not mention why a TTP commander had earlier claimed responsibility for the attack.

The terrorist group is a separate but affiliated branch of the Afghan Taliban. TTP has been insurgent in Pakistan for 15 years. It seeks to establish a strict rule of Islamic law in the country, release its detained members and reduce the presence of the Pakistani military in areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on which it bases its base.

Sunni Muslim-majority Pakistan has seen an increase in terrorist attacks since November, when the Pakistani Taliban ended its ceasefire with government forces.


The Associated Press reporter Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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