Suicide bomber strikes in Pakistan at border crossing with India

A suicide bomber killed more than 50 people in a blast today at the Wagah border crossing in Pakistan. Two major Pakistani jihadist groups claimed credit for the attack.

The blast occurred outside of a restaurant near a checkpoint manned by Pakistani border guards. The Wagah border crossing is the only road link between Lahore and the Indian city of Amritsar.

“People were returning after watching the parade at Wagah border when the blast took place,” the chief of police for the nearby city of Lahore said, according to Dawn. “Ball bearings were found at the scene,” he continued.

Police and hospital officials said that at least 55 people were killed and 70 more were wounded in the deadly blast.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a recently formed splinter group of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and Jundallah both claimed credit for the suicide attack in Wagah.

“Our friend Hanifullah operated this attack,” Ihsanullah Ihsan, the spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar wrote in an email sent to The Long War Journal. “The [sic] is the start of attacks of TTPJA [Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan Jamaat-ul-Ahrar] and InshaAllah [God willing] we will continue such attacks in the future.”

Ihsan said the suicide bombing “is the revenge of the killing of those innocent people who have been killed by Pakistan Army particularly of those who have been killed in North Waziristan.”

Additionally, Ihsan promised to release video of the attack and discounted the claims of responsibility of “other groups.”

“Some other groups claim the responsibility of this attack but these claims are baseless,” Ihsan said. “We will soon release the video of this attack.”

Jundallah, another jihadist group that operates in Pakistan, also claimed the attack and said it was carried out to avenge Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan.

Both groups are capable of conducting mass-casualty suicide attacks inside Pakistan.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which was formed in late August after a leadership dispute with the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, is comprised of jihadist factions, including the Mohmand Taliban branch, that have been involved in deadly suicide attacks and assaults throughout Pakistan. Just two weeks before the group officially announced its formation, it participated in a joint suicide assault with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan on two Pakistani military airbases in Quetta. [See LWJ reports, Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar forms in northwestern Pakistan and Quetta airbase attacks carried out by Pakistani Taliban, IMU.]

Jundallah, a Karachi-based terrorist group closely tied to al Qaeda and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, has also launched several high-profile suicide attacks inside Pakistan. In September, Jundallah claimed credit for a suicide attack at a church in Peshawar that killed 81 Christians. In July 2013, the group claimed credit for a suicide assault on a local headquarters for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISID) in Sukkur.

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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  • Birbal Dhar says:

    Obviously a bad job in security by the Pakistanis have allowed this to happen. It’s more embarrassing for them because it occurred at the Wagah border, supposed to be one of the most secure sites in Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban had chosen that target because it is the place where it borders with India, and hence choose to get big media attention. Pakistanis role in training islamic frankenstein monsters for their aggression against neighbouring countries is costing Pakistan in millions of rupees and loss of life, when these monsters decide to attack their creators. As they say what you sow is what you reap !!

  • Darrell says:

    There is no politically correct way to fight these moguls. Savages should be dealt with in savage ways.

  • sundoesntrise says:

    Avenging “innocent people” killed in military operations by committing a suicide bombing on dozens of innocent people who were watching a parade.
    That makes PERFECT sense. Why hasn’t anybody given these guys an award for how smart they are?

  • Barry Larking says:

    Reap what you sow, Pakistan? Commentators are seemingly fond of casting this whole region as riven by something akin to the Cold War; an ideological division neat and straightforward. The more I watch and read I am convinced the better equivalence is to Italy at the time of the city states. Shifting alliances and confusing betrayals mapped by a Machiavelli. Here there is no ideology simply ‘interests’ that can be bought and or sold.
    The UK has just ended its fourth occupation in this region in the last one hundred and seventy years. It remains much as it ever was. Anywhere in the world you can buy someone’s loyalty for a price. Here one only rents.

  • Arjuna says:

    I don’t care who takes credit for it (all these claiming groups are bad Tali/AQ-friendly), I smell the hand of AQIS helping the TTP strike back against PakMil and trying to start a shooting war w India in the process (which was quite possible if the bomber had hit the ceremony itself).
    “He [RAW official] said the attack may have been an attempt by al Qaeda’s new Indian Subcontinent wing to demonstrate its potential at a time when the network has been overshadowed by Islamic State, which anecdotal evidence suggests is gathering support in South Asia.
    “They have tried to focus on large casualties and a sensational incident,” he said.
    An Indian official said the home ministry received two intelligence warnings in mid-October of possible attacks along the border or at the Golden Temple in the nearby city of Amritsar, the most sacred site for Sikhs.”
    Way to go RAW to raise the alert level and protect the border! Little the Pakistanis could have done as the bomber detonated at the outermost checkpoint… except maybe not teach suicide bombing as a matter of practice?
    Videos were promised after Karachi dockyard attack. They never came. What’s up with that? Show us the proof, cowards, and we’ll oblige you with a targeting package.

  • yash says:

    Pure Muslims are killing not sure pure muslims

  • Arjuna says:

    Big, fat stinky ties between Al Khorasani (leader of this TTP-AJ outfit that carried out this Wagah attack) and Ayman Al Zawahiri. This was intended to be two bombers with 8kg belts, nothing to scoff at. Many more PakMil casualties were hoped for than were realized.
    Two Indian warships skulked away from Calcutta port this week. A threat from “Al Qaeda’s naval wing” was mentioned (though officially denied).
    Connections between these? You bet. Z’s new AO. Karachi dockyard, Wagah, Calcutta, next?

  • irebukeu says:

    It looks like the LWJ just bought itself another 6 months on pakistans naughty-no lookie website list. Thats ok, India is the LWJs number two nation for traffic. TAKE THAT PAKISTAN!!


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