A pair of suicide bombers have killed 42 Pakistanis in the settled district of Kohat in Pakistan’s insurgency-infested northwest.
The suicide bombers detonated just minutes apart at the Kacha Pukha, which was set up to care for Internally Displaced People who have fled the Pakistani military offensive against the Taliban in the Arakzai tribal agency. The bombers waded into the crowd wearing burkas and detonated their suicide vests just minutes apart, Dawn reported.
The suicide bombers targeted members of the Mani Khel and Baramad Khel tribes, which have formed lashkars, or tribal militias, to oppose the Taliban.
“The two tribes raised a lashkar to fight Taliban in Arakzai,” the local police chief told Geo News.
The Taliban have singled out tribes in the northwest that have sided with the government and have viciously attacked them in an effort to sideline them.
A group calling itself the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al Alami took credit for the attack. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Alami is a branch of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an anti-Shia terror group that has integrated with al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has an extensive network in Pakistan and serves as the muscle for terror attacks. The group has conducted numerous suicide and other terror attacks in the tribal areas, the Northwest Frontier Province (which was officially renamed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa this week), and in Punjab province.
Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has a strong presence in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Agencies, particularly in South Waziristan and Arakzai. The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi formed alliances with Taliban commanders Baitullah and Hakeemullah Mehsud as well as with Jaish-e-Mohammed and al Qaeda. Elements of these groups formed the Fedayeen-e-Islam. The Fedayeen-e-Islam took credit for the deadly September 2008 suicide attack on the Islamabad Marriott Hotel and the March 2009 storming of a police station in Lahore.
Senior leaders of the Fedayeen-e-Islam include Qari Hussain Mehsud, a senior deputy to Baitullah who trains child suicide bombers; Asmatullah Moaviya; and Rana Afzal. Qari Mohammed Zafar, the operational commander of the September 2008 attack on the Islamabad Marriott; was killed in a US Predator strike in North Waziristan on Feb. 24, 2010.
Today’s suicide attack is the second in Pakistan in two days, and both today’s and yesterday’s attacks were claimed by the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi. Yesterday a suicide bomber killed 10 people at a hospital in Quetta. The suicide 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 took credit for the attack.
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