Suicide bomber kills 17 Pakistani troops in North Waziristan

A suicide bomber killed 22 people, including 17 Pakistan paramilitary soldiers, in an attack yesterday in the main town of Miramshah in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

The suicide bomber rammed a water tanker packed with explosives into a checkpoint manned by the Tochi Scouts of the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary formation that operates in northwestern Pakistan, according to Geo News. The Inter-Services Public Relations, the military’s public affairs branch, confirmed that “17 security forces personnel embraced shahadat (martyrdom)” in the attack.

The checkpoint was close to a mosque as well as buildings that housed the Frontier Works Organization, a construction and engineering arm of the Pakistani Army, Dawn reported.

No group has claimed credit for the attack. The Miramshah area is controlled by both the Haqqani Network and Hafiz Gul Bahadar, the top Taliban commander in North Waziristan. A host of allied terror groups such as al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and the “Punjabi Taliban,” a conglomerate of Punjabi jihadists from groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-a-Jhangvi, operate in Miramshah.

Bahadar and the Haqqani Network maintain a truce with the Pakistani military and the government, but attacks against security forces and government officials are common. In January, four soldiers were wounded in an IED attack in the Mir Ali area.

Although the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan is blamed for most of the attacks in North Waziristan, Bahadar’s forces and those of the Haqqani Network have broken the truce and attacked Pakistani forces in the past. Pakistan refuses to conduct an operation to clear the area of the Haqqanis’ and Bahadar’s forces, despite the fact that they are in violation of the truce by attacking security forces, sheltering al Qaeda and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, running a parallel administration to govern the remote tribal agency, and launching attacks against NATO and Afghan forces across the border in Afghanistan.

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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9 Comments

  • Bob says:

    Bill:
    Have you heard of any reports of mutinies or outrage among the Frontier Corps?
    It almost seems like a death sentence to be sent to the tribal areas. That cannot be reassuring to deploying troops.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    I’m wondering why would sometimes the Bahadur’s forces and the Haqqani’s attack the Pakistani Army ? I understand why the TTP would attack the Pakistani Army, but the Bahadur’s and Haqqani’s are protected by the ISI, and still attack the Pakistani army ??

  • blert says:

    I well recall what happened when the Pakistani Army actually tried to fight the fanatics. (Swat)
    It was a shambles.
    Pakistan, in all of this time, has never acquired the capability to go after the tribal lords in the Federally Abandoned Tribal Anarchy. (FATA)

  • vyom says:

    @Birbal Dhar
    It is frontier corps not Pak Army. and they are expendable according to Paki mindset. One of the reason for this is that they are recruited from tribal areas of Pak not from Punjab or Sindh or Baluch. If a soldier from these areas killed then you will see a major demonstration and so on.
    Another thing is Pak sent regular troops in Kargil war but they were from NLI or Northern Light Infantry generally made of recruits from Pak occupied Kashmir. Although there were some Baluchs but it was against India so Pakis did not mind.

  • KaneKaizer says:

    Why can’t Pakistan as a whole simply drop off the face of the Earth? Just wondering.

  • mike merlo says:

    it appears negotiation’s between the various protagonist’s are progressing as ‘usual’

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    @vyom
    I understand that the Frontier Corps are a bit like a support group to the Pakistani Army, but why would sometimes Bahadur forces and the Haqqani’s attack the Frontier Corps, when they are working with the Pakistani Army, who themselves are protecting the Haqqani’s and the Bahaur forces.
    It’s a bit like someone attacking the son and daughter of a father, who has been caring and looking after you. It doesn’t make sense, especially the sentence on the last paragraph of this article below me:
    “Although the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan is blamed for most of the attacks in North Waziristan, Bahadar’s forces and those of the Haqqani Network have broken the truce and attacked Pakistani forces in the past”

  • Moose says:

    @Birbal Dhar
    It’s important to remember that these groups are independent actors. They collude with one another and sometimes against each other.
    The Pakistani military is ultimately the maestro, but doesn’t outright control them. When groups like the TTP get out of line, the military uses the Frontier Corp or promotes infighting like earlier this week between the TTP and Ansar ul-Islam.

  • aviratam says:

    because there isn’t enough champagne yet to celebrate the event!

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