Ahrar-ul-Hind suicide assault team attacks courthouse in Islamabad

The newly formed Ahrar-ul-Hind claimed credit for a suicide assault today at a courthouse that killed a judge and 10 other people in Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad. The attack took place after both the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and the Pakistani government announced over the weekend that they would suspend attacks against each other.

Two Ahrar-ul-Hind suicide bombers armed with weapons and hand grenades attacked the court, and killed judge Rafaqat Awan, a female lawyer, and nine others. Thirty more people were wounded in the assault, which may have been designed to free a prisoner who was brought to court to face trial.

Asad Mansoor, the spokesman for Ahrar-ul-Hind, told Dawn that the group carried out the suicide assault and that it would continue to conduct attacks until sharia, or Islamic law, is imposed throughout Pakistan.

Shahidullah Shahid, the spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, said his group was not responsible for the attack, The News reported.

Ahrar-ul-Hind, which was formed by elements of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and “other jihadi organizations,” sent emails to The Long War Journal on Feb. 9 announcing its formation and vowing it would not participate in peace talks or adhere to a ceasefire unless sharia is imposed in Pakistan. Ahrar-ul-Hind said it is entrenched in Pakistan’s major cities and would conduct attacks there. It also said fighters in the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan are still “our brothers,” despite its separation from the larger group. [See LWJ report, Pakistani jihadists form Ahrar-ul-Hind, vow to continue attacks.]

Also today, jihadists killed two Frontier Corps troops and wounded seven more in an IED attack in the tribal agency of Khyber. No group has claimed credit for the IED attack. The Taliban and a host of jihadist groups are based in the tribal agency.

Today’s suicide assault in Islamabad and the IED attack in Khyber occurred after the Taliban and the government agreed over the weekend to cease hostilities in order to continue peace talks. On Saturday, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan’s spokesman announced a month-long ceasefire. And on Sunday, the government said it would end its airstrikes in northwestern Pakistan. Negotiations between the government and the Taliban are being brokered by radical Pakistani clerics, including one who supports jihad and led an insurrection in Islamabad in 2007. [See Threat Matrix report, Taliban ‘negotiator’ Abdullah Aziz appears with armed guards.]

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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  • Bill Ahrar is very significan and dates back to Nazi times. It is a facist movement from the 30’s. Deobandi Terror groups keep changing the cover from TTP to LEJ To Jandullah to Arhar, they are all Deobandi or Salafi Terrorists.

  • Jeff Edelman says:

    Just as it was with the IRA, the movement of the taliban in Pakistan now has its political wing and its terrorism wing. How convenient. The Pakistani government will live with this. It’s citizens won’t.

  • Devendra Sood says:

    Taliban is playing Chess and the Pak Government is playing Marble. Taliban, when convenient, just simply deny that they are involved in these bombings, killings or beheading explaining that the group that did it was recently expelled from the TTP/Taliban.
    Now, they can have their cake and it it too.
    Keep killing while negotiating and regrouping.

  • Dave says:

    Ali, thank you for your comment. I needed to look up Ahrar and Deobandi on Wikipedia. Americans want to understand Pakistani issues.
    And Jeff, thank you for your’s. Nobody should believe that the newly named terror group is anything but the old terrorists in new lipstick.

  • Arjuna says:

    They certainly followed through on their threat, especially wrt urban areas. Points up why any negotiations > ceasefires with the TTP won’t stop the killing. No such thing as a peaceful jihadi. Thanks LWJ for keeping up with new groups as they emerge…
    Pakistani jihadists form Ahrar-ul-Hind, vow to continue attacks
    The new group is an offshoot of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and other jihadist groups. Its spokesman said Ahrar-ul-Hind is based in Pakistan’s “urban areas” and would conduct attacks in Pakistan’s cities despite the outcome of peace talks.
    Posted by Bill Roggio on February 11, 2014 12:35 AM


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