41 killed in triple suicide attack at Sufi shrine in Lahore

Suicide bombers have again struck a religious site in the capital of Pakistan’s eastern province of Punjab.

Today three suicide bombers detonated vests at the Data Ganj Bakhsh shrine in Lahore, killing 41 people and wounding more than 170. Of those wounded, 24 are said to be in critical condition.

The three bombers entered the compound undetected and detonated their vests at the Sufi shrine just minutes apart. The suicide vests were packed with ball bearings to maximize casualties. One of the suicide bombers threw hand grenades at worshipers before detonating his vest. The attack took place on a Thursday, when the number of visitors at the shrine is highest.

Today’s attack is the first major terrorist strike outside of Pakistani’s tribal areas since the May 28 armed assaults on two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore. On that day, two squads of heavily armed Taliban fighters from the so-called Punjabi Taliban entered the two mosques in the provincial capital of Punjab during Friday prayers and opened fire and hurled grenades at worshipers of the Ahmadi sect of Islam. The Ahmadis are banned from calling themselves Muslims by the Pakistani government, and the group is widely discriminated against in the country.

The Punjabi Taliban also carried out several attacks in Lahore in mid-March. On March 8, a suicide bomber rammed his car packed with explosives into a Federal Investigation Agency building, killing 11 people. Four days later, on March 12, a pair of suicide bombers attacked Pakistani Army vehicles at a bazaar in a military cantonment in the city, killing more than 50 people.

The Punjabi Taliban includes members and factions of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in particular is well known for carrying out sectarian terror attacks against minority Shia, Ahmadis, Sufis, and Christians in Pakistan.

Over the past few years, the Taliban have shown no reservations about striking inside mosques and other religious sites [see list below]. There have been 22 major attacks on mosques and other Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007, according to information compiled by The Long War Journal.

One of the most brazen attacks took place on Dec. 4, 2009, when a suicide assault team stormed a mosque frequented by military officers in Rawalpindi. Two senior generals were among the 40 people killed.

Major attacks at mosques, religious events, and Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007:

July 1, 2010: Suicide bombers detonated at the Data Ganj Bakhsh shrine in Lahore, killing 41 people and wounding more than 170.

May 28, 2010: The Punjabi Taliban assaulted two Ahamadi mosques in Lahore, killing more than 70 people.

Dec. 18, 2009: A suicide bomber detonated inside a mosque frequented by policemen in Lower Dir, killing 12.

Dec. 4, 2009: A suicide assault team stormed a mosque in Rawalpindi that is frequented by Army officers, killing 40.

Oct. 20, 2009: A pair of suicide bombers detonated their vests at Islamabad’s International Islamic University, killing five.

June 12, 2009: A suicide bomber killed five Pakistanis, including anti-Taliban cleric Dr. Sarfraz Naeemi, in an attack on a mosque in Lahore during Friday prayers.

June 12, 2009: A suicide bomber killed six worshipers and wounded more than 90 in an attack inside a mosque in Nowshera. The attack collapsed the dome of the mosque.

June 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 49 worshipers in an attack on a mosque in a remote village in Dir.

April 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 24 worshipers and wounded more than 100 in an attack outside a Shia religious center in the Chakwal district in Punjab province.

March 27, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 70 worshipers and wounded more than 125 in an attack at a mosque in the Khyber tribal agency.

March 5, 2009: An attacker threw a hand grenade into the middle of a mosque in Dera Ismail Khan, wounding 25 worshipers.

March 2, 2009: A suicide bomber killed six people during an attack at a gathering in a mosque in the Pishin district in Baluchistan.

Feb. 20, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 32 Pakistanis and wounded more than 85 in an attack on a funeral procession for a Shia elder who was murdered in Dera Ismail Khan.

Feb. 5, 2009: A suicide attack outside a mosque killed more than 30 Shia worshipers and wounded more than 50.

Nov. 22, 2008: A bombing at a mosque in Hangu killed five civilians and wounded seven.

Nov. 21, 2008: A suicide attack on a funeral procession in Dera Ismail Khan killed 10 mourners and wounded more than 25.

Sept. 10, 2008: The Taliban attacked a mosque filled with Ramadan worshipers in the district of Dir in northwestern Pakistan. More than 25 worshipers were killed and more than 50 were wounded.

Aug. 19, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 29 Shia mourners and wounded 35 after detonating in the emergency ward of a hospital.

June 17, 2008: Four Pakistanis were killed and three wounded in a bombing at a Shia mosque in Dera Ismail Khan.

May 19, 2008: Four Pakistanis were killed in a bombing outside a mosque in Bajaur.

Jan. 17, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 10 and wounded 25 in an attack on a Shia mosque in Peshawar.

Dec. 28, 2007: A suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a mosque in Charsadda in an attempt to kill former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao as he conducted Eid prayers. More than 50 were killed and more than 200 were wounded.

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



  • gfgwgc says:

    Probably the work of Bad terrorists. Good terrorists would never kill fellow Pakistanis.

  • Jase says:

    When these brutal attacks are going to an end? Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan all are same. Why these governments don’t take rigid actions to eradicate such activities?

  • Paul says:

    What will it take to wake these people up and start fighting for their own country? When they get serious about it they may have a shot. What do WE do when the taliban takeover and have a nuclear arsenal. No one wants to ponder it but it is closer to happening.

  • T Ruth says:

    New Delhi is host to the Commonwealth games this October. A ceremony was held a few days ago at the Indo-Pak border to mark the handover of the torch.
    From the TOI
    “The ceremony was also marked by cultural programmes, including music and folk dances on both the sides of the borders.
    The main attractions of the morning were performances by late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s nephew Rahat Ali and the Indian Sufi singers — the Wadali brothers that enthralled the audience.
    Salmaan Taseer, Governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, represented the country at the function.”
    Wonder if this has anything to do with the motivation of this attack?
    Another indicator of the strength of the Taliban in Punjab.
    Btw Mehsud has been conspicously quiet since Times Sq/May 1. Ominous.

  • Bungo says:

    Pakistanis interviewed after the bombing blame the U.S.’ occupation of Afghanistan as well as the Indians and the Jews. This is what I call “Islamic Logic”. (unfathomable to Westerners)

  • ArneFufkin says:

    @gfgwgc: Murder + Mayhem = Strategic depth.

  • Stu says:

    As the Sufi sect is peaceful and meditative, this act is an atrocity beyond words. All civilized Muslims should do speak out against these killers and support the swift punishment of all involved. These acts make it clear that radical Islam has nothing to do with religion or spirtuality: it is an evil that must be discouraged in every way. The killers and their sponsors must be eliminated and their cause exposed for the evil that it is.

  • zarin says:

    Terrorist is terrorist and you can”t divide them in good or bad. Pakistani Home minister said that around seven thousand terrorists of outlawed groups like L.J SSP LT trained in waziristan are spread in Punjab, but no one has courrage to put hand upon them. The current punjab government has individuals on key post like law minister who has close links with these groups. They are against shrines and they follow taliban in faith.

  • My2Cents says:

    Pakistan has long differentiated between terrorist groups that fight against India (‘good terrorists’ who receive support via the ISI [Pakistan’s intelligence service]) and ones that attack Pakistan (bad). In addition they are somewhat ambivalent about terrorists that fight in Afghanistan because of the influence that India is gaining there from providing humanitarian aid, and are trying to use the terrorist to get India forced out of Afghanistan by the Coalition in exchange for a Pakistani crackdown on the terrorist.
    Since the members of the various groups seem to move between them at will, this can present a serious problem for the people of Pakistan.

  • T Ruth says:

    Zarin doesn’t your all-powerful General Kayani have links with this lot too?

  • paul says:

    Most if not all terrorist are Wahabbi/deobandi!

  • Raven says:

    I read an article in Indian newspaper months ago. It talked about how new generation of Indian Muslims are turning towards Sufism lately and Arab money trying to pull them the other way. This cultural war within Islam is really is what’s going on. Hope Sufi’s survive and thrive elsewhere.

  • zarin says:

    T Ruth not keyani but a lot of religioue elements working in agencies etc are supporting and providing informations. These groups have mony, force and religious card in hand so they either threat or buy or eleminate all those who confront them.

  • T Ruth says:

    “What do WE do when the taliban takeover and have a nuclear arsenal. No one wants to ponder it but it is closer to happening.”
    True, and i find it TOTALLY EXTRAORDINARY that this is not even a subject for discussion at the UN.
    We are living a dark age, and Pakistan has become the Dark Side of the Earth. The UNITED NATIONS is just a name, a distant aspiration, even in the face of nuclear weapons in the grasp of state-sponsored barbarians.

  • T Ruth says:

    zarin, thanks. sounds much like the mafia. an example of haw a small group of people can hold a whole population to ransom. its the result of decades of a mischievous foreign policy and army rule. this has lead to a culture of violence in pakistan.
    those that don’t participate in it directly, take part indirectly by not protesting. the bystanders need to protest and be ready to die for change.
    it always amazes me when pak people can come out and protest against facebook and stuff like that, but not for more serious stuff like freedom. THEIR FREEDOM!


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram