Pakistan denounces mosque explosion as ‘security breach’, kills 100

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) Pakistani authorities Tuesday tried to find out how a suicide bomber carried out one of the country’s deadliest militant attacks in years. Peshawar. More than 100 people were killed in the explosion.

Monday morning’s bombing, which injured at least 225 people, has raised concerns among officials about a major security breach, while the Pakistani Taliban, a major anti-government militant group, has stepped up attacks on police and the military in particular. raised alarm.

It was unclear who carried out the bombing. A Pakistani Taliban commander known by the acronym TTP claimed responsibility for the attack, but a spokesman for the group later dismissed the TTP from the massacre, saying it was not their policy to attack mosques. rice field.

More than 300 worshippers were praying in the Sunni mosque, with more approaching, when the bomber set off his explosives vest, officials said. The blast blew off part of the roof, and what was left caved in, injuring many more, according to Zafar Khan, a police officer.

Talat Masood, a retired army general and senior security analyst said Monday’s suicide bombing showed “negligence.”

“When we know that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan is active, and when we know that they have threatened to carry out attacks, there should have been more security at the police compound in Peshawar,” he told the AP, using the official name of the Pakistani Taliban.

Kamran Bangash, a provincial secretary-general with the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, called for an investigation and blamed the instability on the government of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

The bombing comes as Pakistan is contending with political and economic crises from a disputed election and from unprecedented floods last summer that killed 1,739 people, destroyed more than 2 million homes, and at one point submerged as much as a third of the country. Sharif visited a hospital in Peshawar after the bombing and vowed a “tough crackdown” on those behind the attack. On Tuesday, he refused to criticize the government and called for unity. “My message to all political forces is unity against anti-Pakistani elements. We can fight political later,” he tweeted.

Shortly after the explosion, Pakistani Taliban commander Sarbakh Momand claimed responsibility for the attack in a Twitter post. But hours later, TTP spokesman Mohammad Khurasani said that it was not the group’s policy to attack mosques, seminaries and religious sites and that those who took part in such actions could be punished under TTP policy. said there is. His account did not mention why the TTP commander claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The Islamic State of Khorasan province, a regional offshoot of the Islamic State group and rival of the Taliban, has also been behind deadly attacks in Pakistan in recent years. All in all, violence has increased since the Afghan Taliban seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 and the US and her NATO forces withdrew from Afghanistan after two decades of war.

Earlier this month, the Pakistani Taliban claimed that one of their members shot dead two of his intelligence officers, including the director of Inter-Services Intelligence’s counter-terrorism division. Security officials said on Monday that a shooter had died in a shootout near the Afghan border.

Afghanistan’s Taliban-led foreign ministry said it was “sad to learn that many people lost their lives” in Peshawar, and condemned the attack on followers as a violation of Islamic teachings.