The Pakistani Taliban have claimed today’s deadly suicide attack on a Pakistani Frontier Corps training center that killed 80 troops and wounded more than 100. The Taliban stated that the attack was carried out to avenge the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle detonated his bomb among a crowd of newly trained troops of Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps at a training center in the Shabqadar area of Charsadda, a settled district in Pakistan’s northwest. The troops were boarding buses as the Taliban suicide bomber pulled up, shouted “Allah Akbar” (“God is Greatest”), and then detonated his explosives. A second explosion, believed to have been caused by a remotely detonated bomb that was planted in the area, occurred shortly after the suicide bombing.
Police said that at least 75 Frontier Corps troops and five civilians were killed and another 115 people were wounded in the deadly blast. Twenty shops near the attack were also destroyed.
The Taliban immediately claimed credit for the attack, saying it was the first in an upcoming campaign designed to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US Navy SEALs and CIA operatives during a May 2 raid in Abbottabad, a small city in Pakistan’s northwest. The Pakistani Taliban blame Pakistan for aiding the raid that killed bin Laden.
“This was the first revenge for Osama’s martyrdom. Wait for bigger attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Ihsanullah Ihsan, a spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, told AFP.
The Pakistani Taliban was the first group to denounce the US raid that killed bin Laden and to explicitly threaten the Pakistani state, including the military.
“Now Pakistani rulers, President Zardari and the army will be our first targets. America will be our second target,” Ihsanullah Ihsan told Reuters the same day bin Laden was killed.
Today’s attack is the largest in Pakistan by the Taliban since Nov. 5, 2010, when a suicide bomber detonated his vest inside a mosque in Darra Adam Khel in Pakistan’s tribal areas. More than 60 people were killed in that attack.
A Taliban suicide bomber struck in Charsadda as recently as March 31. In that attack, a suicide bomber targeted a convoy that was transporting Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of the pro-Taliban Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl political party. Twelve people were killed, but Rehman escaped unhurt. Rehman has angered some Taliban factions for his willingness to seek a political settlement to the war across the border in Afghanistan.
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