While the operational tempo of jihadist groups based in Pakistan has decreased significantly, today served as a reminder of their capability to execute horrific attacks and remain a major threat to the Pakistani state.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an anti-Shia jihadist group with ties to al Qaeda, and the Shehryar Mehsud faction of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan are said to be responsible for today’s bombing at a vegetable market in Parachinar, located in Pakistan’s tribal agency of Kurram. At least 25 people were killed and another 49 wounded in the blast, according to Dawn.
Dawn reported that LeJ sent a text message to reporters and claimed the attack was executed in conjunction with the Shehryar Mehsud Taliban faction:
In a text message sent to journalists, the proscribed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami claimed that it, along with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter Shehryar Mehsud group carried out the attack. However, the Sheheryar Mehsud group did not independently claim the bombing.
LeJ’s involvement with the bombing would come as no surprise. The group is well known for carrying out sectarian terror attacks against minority Shia, Ahmadis, Sufis, and Christians in Pakistan. The group has released videos of executions of captured Shia prisoners. Parachinar is a predominantly Shia area of Kurram.
However, the involvement of the Sheheryar Mehsud group, if true, is interesting. The Sheheryar Mehsud group, which is based in the neighboring tribal agency of North Waziristan, split from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (TTP) due to a leadership dispute with the TTP’s emir, Mullah Fazlullah. In the announcement of the split, the group “declared extortion, kidnapping for ransom, and bombing public places as ‘Haram’ (forbidden by Islam),” according to Pakistan Today.
Then again, the Taliban and other jihadist groups are well known for denouncing attacks on civilians, only to backtrack and slaughter them.
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