The Pakistani Taliban killed five people in a bombing today at a mosque in the northwestern provincial capital of Peshawar. Today’s attack follows a recent upswing in attacks on security forces by the terror group.
The bomb was detonated during Friday prayers in an effort to maximize casualties; in addition to the dead, 22 people were wounded in the bombing. The explosive device had been planted in the mosque by the Taliban prior to the service.
Some Pakistani officials downplayed the bombing, however, and claimed that the Taliban have been defeated during a recent security operation in Peshawar. While condemning the blast, Basher Ahmad Bilour, the senior minister for Khyber-Paktunkha province, said the culprits would soon be arrested as a search operation had been launched.
“Terrorists have lost courage,” Bilour told Pajwhok Afghan News. “Their back is broken that’s why they target mosques, schools and other such places.”
But the Taliban have been able to carry out several attacks in Peshawar and the surrounding tribal agencies over the past week. Two days ago, Taliban fighters wounded a policeman in a grenade attack in Peshawar. And on Oct. 15, the Taliban bombed a school in Peshawar.
The Taliban have also stepped up attacks against security forces in the nearby tribal areas. Today, the Taliban killed six Frontier Corps troops in Arakzai. Yesterday, the Taliban killed three more of the paramilitary soldiers in Khyber. And in South Waziristan, five Pakistani soldiers were killed on Oct. 15, and three more were killed on Oct. 19.
Taliban target religious sites
Over the past few years, the Taliban and allied Pakistani terror groups have shown no reservations about striking inside mosques and other religious sites, as well as during religious processions and events [see list below]. There have been 27 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. The last such attack took place on Aug. 23, when a suicide bomber detonated inside a mosque in Wana in South Waziristan. More than 30 people, including a pro-government and pro-Taliban former member of parliament, were killed.
Suicide bombers also struck the Data Ganj Bakhsh shrine in Lahore on July 1, 2010, killing 41 people and wounding more than 170. Three suicide bombers detonated their vests at the shrine at a time when it is most frequented.
The last such attack took place on Oct. 7, when two suicide bombers killed eight people at a Sufi shrine in in Karachi.
Major attacks at mosques, religious events, and Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007:
Oct. 22, 2010: Five people were killed when an IED was detonated inside a mosque in Peshawar.
Oct. 7, 2010: Two suicide bombers killed eight people in a coordinated attack on the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Karachi.
Sept. 3, 2010: A suicide bomber attempted to storm a mosque in Mardan, but was stopped by security guards. One person was killed after he detonated his vest.
Sept. 1, 2010: Suicide bombers detonated during Shia religious processions in Lahore, killing 28 people.
Aug. 23, 2010: A suicide bomber detonated at a mosque in Wana, South Waziristan, killing 18 people.
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.