Taliban suicide bomber kills 37 at funeral in Peshawar

A Taliban suicide bomber killed 37 mourners at a funeral in northwestern Pakistan in the latest attack in the insurgency-wracked country. The target of the attack was a tribe that has resisted the Taliban’s advance in the area.

According to reports, a teenage bomber wrapped in a shawl detonated his vest at the funeral in the village of Adizai in the Matni area of Peshawar.

“People had gathered and had just started praying when a boy walked in and blew himself up,” a survivor told Geo News.

The villagers were attending the funeral of a relative of Hakeem Khan, a Pashtun tribal leader who has raised a local militia in the Matni area in Peshawar to battle the Taliban. More than 50 people were also wounded in the blast.

The Taliban claimed credit for the suicide attack, and denounced the locally raised militias, or lashkars, as instruments of US policy.

“These lashkars are raised to create chaos instead of maintaining peace,” Ihsanullah Ihsan, a Taliban spokesman, told Reuters. “The lashkars and the army are fighting us at the behest of the Americans. We will continue attacks on them.”

The Taliban have targeted the lashkar in Matni in the past. On Nov. 8, 2009, a suicide bomber killed 13 people, including the mayor of Adizai, in a blast at a market. The mayor had organized a lashkar to battle the Taliban.

Throughout the northwest, local Pakistani tribal leaders have raised lashkars to oppose the spread of the Taliban. But the terror groups have countered by ruthlessly attacking tribal meetings and killing senior leaders. The last major attack against tribal leaders took place in December 2010, when a suicide bomber killed 50 people and wounded more than 100 in an attack on a government official’s office in Ghalalnai, the administrative seat of the tribal agency of Mohmand

Over the past several years, the Taliban have savagely attacked tribal leaders who oppose Taliban rule in the tribal areas and the greater northwest. Tribal opposition has been violently attacked and defeated in Peshawar, Dir, Arakzai, Khyber, and Swat. Suicide bombers have struck at tribal meetings held at mosques, schools, hotels, and homes. [See LWJ report, Anti-Taliban tribal militia leader assassinated in Pakistan’s northwest, for more information on the difficulties of raising tribal lashkars in Pakistan’s northwest.]

Today’s suicide attack is the latest in a string of Taliban suicide attacks, bombings, and armed attacks against civilians, the government, and security forces since mid-January. The terror groups have carried out six major attacks in the past week. Yesterday, a car bomb at a gas station in Faisalabad killed 30 people. On March 4, a suicide bomber killed nine people in a bombing at a mosque in Nowshera. On March 3, a suicide bomber killed nine Pakistanis in an attack on a police outpost in Hangu, and six police were killed in an ambush in the tribal agency of Bara. And on March 2, the Punjabi Taliban and al Qaeda assassinated Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs in a shooting outside his mother’s home in Islamabad.

Sources:

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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3 Comments

  • gerald flowers says:

    Curious how they never protest when the Talibs kill civilians. Where is the outrage? Why don’t you stand up for your country? if you did we would happily remove our troops.

  • My2Cents says:

    The lashkar need to learn and adopt some basic security. When someone, presumably unknown to them, can just walk in with a bomb they are doomed.

  • Spooky says:

    gerald flowers-
    Actually, if you ever bothered to read the local papers, you would find that the entire tribe is in protest to the government, as they haven’t been providing the lashkar any of the support they promised in exchange for their loyalty.
    Also, whats the point in protesting the Taliban? They aren’t civilized, and thus no one expects them to listen. The US on the other hand, is held to a higher standard.
    As for establishing basic security, with what? This particular tribe has been hit so hard so many times, they don’t have the weapons to spare., since GoP sure isn’t giving them any.

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