Suicide bomber kills 23 in Peshawar

Terrorists have carried out their fourth major suicide attack in Pakistan’s northwest in four days. A Taliban suicide bomber killed 23 people in an attack today at a crowded bazaar in the city of Peshawar.

The suicide bomber conducted the attack to maximize casualties. The bomber detonated in the midst of a protest by the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist political party that advocates the imposition of sharia, or Islamic law, and has supported the Taliban in the past. His vest was “packed with six to eight kilogrammes (13 to 17 pounds) of explosives and pellets and ball-bearings,” AFP reported.

Three police officers, including a deputy superintendent, and a district leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami were among those killed in the attack, according to Geo News.

The suicide attack was preceded by another bombing today at a school in Peshawar that killed a young boy and wounded 15 others.

Today’s suicide attack in Peshawar is the latest in a flurry of bombings after a period of relative quiet in Pakistan. The Taliban have carried out three other suicide attacks in Kohat and Quetta since April 16.

The first suicide attack took place on April 16, when a bomber struck as senior police officials, politicians, and reporters gathered at the hospital after a prominent Shia banker was shot and killed. The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, an al Qaeda and Taliban-linked terror group, took credit for the attack, which killed 10 people.

The second strike occurred on April 17, when two suicide bombers detonated minutes apart at a camp for refugees fleeing the Army offensive in Arakzai. The two bombers killed 42 Pakistanis at the camp in Kohat. The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi again took credit for the attack.

The third suicide attack targeted a police station in Kohat. Seven civilians, including an infant, were killed in the blast. The Taliban took credit for the attack.

All four of these recent suicide attacks have taken place outside of Pakistan’s tribal areas, where the Taliban control North Waziristan and other regions. The military has stepped up operations in the tribal areas of South Waziristan, Khyber, Arakzai, and Bajaur, but the Taliban still maintain a foothold in these areas.

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

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  • kp says:

    These attacks are now trending above average (according to the CTC average of 11 killed per bomb).

    1. 10 killed (1 bomb)

    2. 7 killed (1 bomb)

    3. 42 killed (2 bombs): 21 per bomb

    4. 23 killed (1 bomb): 23 per bomb

    Overall 16.4 per bomb.

    I wonder what they hope to achieve here? These are not quite indiscriminte bombings but suicide bombs against Muslims in the past has tended to work against AQ related groups in the long term, especially as Sunni leader seems to have been targeted here.

  • Mr T says:

    Killing each other now? I like you …I like you not.

  • Benjamin says:

    the string of bombings in Peshawar in recent times make little sense often times. They often times target random people in markets without any sectarian majority, such as being Shia. Even bombings in Iraq by the most radical extremists at least followed a pattern and a target that made some sense.
    Now this. Why would they attack a political party that supports Taliban and desires Sharia? Only thing I can think of is that its the ultra-radical brand of Al qaida ideology that does not believe in any inclusion into the secular or democratic political process even if the end goal is indeed for a pure Islamic state. Its the same reason guys like Zawahiri and al-Maqdisi condemn Hamas, and to some extent Hezb Ut Tahrir condemns the Brotherhood.
    Still, it just puzzles me why militants would go out of their way to attack an Islamist party. Even though they may not see eye to eye fully, you would think they have plenty of other targets to use a suicide bomber on. Anyone have any idea? What was this protest about specifically?
    Also what is the point of blowing up random civilians in Peshawars markets in other recent bombings? it just doesnt make any sense. I don’t see how Taliban would gain anything from it. Arent they concerned with getting public support?
    No wonder so many Pashton’s have begun believing in conspiracy theories that Blackwater, CIA, Indian Intelligence etc. are involved in these bombings. These bombings don’t make any sense

  • BraddS says:

    When you are so utterly frustrated you start massacring the very people who you claim to be liberating from “foreign invaders”, can the endgame be far off??

  • David says:

    Can someone more familiar with the situation please answer whether this target change is a marked shift towards anti-Taliban violence (ie are they now finding themselves more on the defensive in this area) or is this a statistical blip?

  • Solomon2 says:

    Bombed their own supporters? Are they trying for a Darwin Award?

  • T Ruth says:

    Benjamin, its quite simple. They want to show up the police, the State to be ineffective, impotent. To make the point, policemen too were killed in this attack. They want to bomb the people into submission in order to gain power over them and they don’t believe in political parties or a democratic system anymore than the Pak army does or did. Thats fairplay in their culture.
    The Pak Taliban’s goal, as vociferously supported by AQ, is to give the Pakistani people who have been exploited since the birth of this ‘nation’ by feudal lords and the crooked elite, to give them a peoples Govt. Its hardly very different from what Pak conceived of in and for Afghanistan. When the people have had enough, they will say ok your turn, the others are no better really. In fact they are not only brutal but also corrupt. You are even more brutal now and less corrupt. And their hope will be that once they take over, they will have to be more discriminate.
    Where’s the conundrum?

  • Zeissa says:

    They do believe that even if they lose they will be victorious in the end. From that point of view one is somewhat more free to pursue ideals over strategy.

  • Zeissa says:

    Also, why would they go out of their way?
    Maybe they upset them or something.


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