Taliban suicide bomber kills 50, destroys mosque in Pakistan

A Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 50 worshipers and wounded more than 125 in an attack at a mosque in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the border with Pakistan. The bombing is the second mass-casualty suicide attack in Pakistan’s insurgency-infested northwest in two days.

The death toll is expected to rise, Tariq Hayat Khan, the Political Agent for Khyber said according to a report in The Times of India. “Forty-five to 46 bodies have been retrieved … up to 70 people could have been killed,” Khan said.

The attack took place in the Jamrud district in Pakistan’s Khyber agency. Khyber is the gateway to Afghanistan; NATO’s main supply route for its forces in Afghanistan passes through the tribal agency.

The suicide bomber detonated his vest in the middle of a packed mosque just as prayers began. “Police, paramilitary forces, and government officials were among the congregation in the mosque,” Geo News reported. The two-story mosque was leveled, the news agency reported.

The Taliban have not taken credit for the attack, but had previously threatened to destroy a police station next to the mosque.

“It’s surprising, those who claim that they are doing jihad and then carry out suicide attacks inside mosques during Friday prayers,” Khan told Geo News. “They are infidels. They are enemies of Pakistan. They are enemies of Islam.”

Today’s bombing is the third attack inside a mosque this month. On March 5, an attacker targeted worshipers at a mosque in Dera Ismail Khan, a district adjacent to the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan. Twenty-five people were wounded after the attacker lobbed a grenade during prayer. And a March 2 suicide attack at a gathering in a mosque in the Pishin district in Baluchistan killed six civilians.

The Taliban have conducted numerous attacks in mosques and during religious events in the Northwest Frontier Province, Baluchistan, and Punjab over the past several years. The most high-profile attack occurred on Dec. 28, 2007, in Charsadda, when a suicide bomber detonated in a mosque in an attempt to kill former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao as he conducted Eid prayers. More than 50 were killed and scores were wounded.

Other major attacks at mosques and religious events in Pakistan include the Sept. 10, 2008, attack on a mosque filled with Ramadan worshipers in Dir that killed 25 Pakistanis and wounded more than 50; the Nov. 21, 2008, suicide attack on a funeral procession in Dera Ismail Khan that killed 10 people and wounded 25 more; and the Feb. 5, 2009, suicide attack outside of a mosque that killed more than 30 Shia worshipers and wounded more than 50.

The Taliban have stepped up their suicide bombing campaign in Pakistan and are on pace to break the 2007 and 2008 suicide attack totals. Today’s suicide attack marks the sixth such bombing inside Pakistan this month. There were five suicide attacks inside Pakistan in February this year and another three in January, totaling 19 attacks during the first quarter of 2008.

The Taliban and al Qaeda conducted 56 suicide attacks in Pakistan in 2007 and another 61 attacks in 2008.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • Ayamo says:

    I don’t understand it. How can the Taliban possibly claim to fight for the Islam and attack mosques and praying people on the other side?

  • Rhyno327 says:

    When did Allah, God sanction THIS? Wow, this is just really low down, dirty. It reminds me of wat Golda Meir said in the movie “Munich”, about compromising one’s ideals, in order to “hit back”…these “people” are sub-human, they need termination.

  • Minnor says:

    In Pak, Taliban can explode bomb anywhere anytime.. Anywhere at their discretion.
    Related: Tribals hand over 40 talibans in adjacent Bajaur.

  • m3fd2002 says:

    They are using the same tactics as in Iraq. They will get the same results. Local people will begin to turn on them. We just need to develop allies within the NWFP, and pay them and employ them as our cadres/proxies. Money Talks. The Taliban/Al Qaeda swept most of Afghanistan with the money of Saudi princes, and a few “shock troops”, who were more motivated than the opposition. It is an ineffective strategy in today’s world. They will be able to launch sporadic, spectacular attacks for quite some time. But, they are spent as a “revolutionary movement”.

  • TO m3fd2002,
    They are not a spent force – yet. Embedded behind the gun is the historical importance of Hadith.
    Try finding out about these three:
    1. Ghazwatul Hind
    2. Black Flags of Khorasan
    3. Signs of coming of the Mahdi.
    Its important to factor this in – it does not matter what you think but what your adversaries believe in and are being indoctrinated with. This war is far far from over.
    I will write on the above topic in a week’s time, but if you have time, do google and research – fascinating read.

  • NS says:

    I don’t understand it. How can the Taliban possibly claim to fight for the Islam and attack mosques and praying people on the other side?
    It’s easy. let me explain.
    The Taliban are Sunni Wahabbi – they attacked a Shia mosque.
    According to them the Shia are… get this.. not “true Muslims.” – only Sunnis and even among them only the Wahabbis are considered “truly Islamic”.
    So according to the Taliban, they killed a bunch of not so true Muslims. Thats how they convince themselves that they did nothing wrong – in fact they did the “right” thing.
    It is also possible that there are some people in this mosque who may have helped the US with gathering intel ? But the attack looks so random that it seems to be nothing but sheer religious hatred.
    Pakistan – the single biggest mistake/tragedy created in the last 50 years.

  • davidp says:

    Was this a Sunni or Shia mosque ? Neither the LWJ or Times of India article says. It matters to the interpretation of the murders. NS, what is your source for saying it was Shia?

  • Neo says:

    Here is a listing of Mosques bombed by the Taliban from 2002-2008.

  • NS says:

    I relied on a second hand source ( from another blog) but it looks like i was mistaken from what Neo has posted. It’s my bad !

  • adamkhan says:

    This was not a shia mosque, as far as I know this particular tribal area does not have any shia communities.
    This mosque was frequented by members of the tribal militias and the frontier constabulary that are employees of the government. Thats why the attack.
    Although I must add shia mosques, communities and businesses are prime targets for the Taliban. But this was not one of those.

  • m3fd2002 says:

    Bengal under attack: My point was that Al Qaeda has lost the arab street. Their tactics are distasteful at best. On sept 11, 2001 a significant percentage of Arab’s were supportive of the New York, Pennsylvania, and Pentagon attacks. They looked at it as payback for the west’s or US’s support of Israel and our supposed dominance of the region. Our response was to pick the most powerful army in the arab world and dismantle it in day’s. A humiliation in the Arab’s mind. They, Saudi princes, responded with monies to support a Sunni insurgency in Iraq. AlQaeda put most of their resources into that front. Their tactics (attacking defenseless civilians, ineffective IED’s, enforcing sharia, etc) alienated the arab street. In turn the Sunni’s turned on them in Iraq, and they lost the tacit support of the Arab street. Al Qaeda’s philosophy is no longer seen as an alternative. There is blow-back occurring now, where surviving Al Qaeda cadres are returning to their home countries. Even the Saudi’s are eliminating them as soon as they are discovered. The Taliban will eventually be integrated into Afghanistan and Pakistani political systems. It’s all over but the body count. I’d like to see the minimum of American’s being lost in this campaign. Petraeus deserves a change to resolve this problem. Long term, the educational systems of the muslim world probably would benefit from a secular curriculum.

  • Marlin says:

    The death toll continues to grow. Interestingly, significant security was present, as if they knew the potential for something bad to happen was there. They just appear to have had no idea how it was to be instigated.

    At least 70 people were killed – according to various TV channels – and 125 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque during Friday prayers near Baghiari checkpost area in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency, said political administration officials.
    The official said that 115 Khasadaars were positioned at a nearby checkpost, three had been deployed outside the mosque and several were inside.
    A witness told reporters that a man who had arrived in a black car entered the mosque – located on the Pak-Afghan Highway – during the sermon and blew himself up.

    Daily Times: 70 killed, 125 injured in Jamrud mosque attack


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