Death toll from suicide bombing in Pakistan rises to 63

Death toll from suicide bombing in Pakistan rises to 63

The death toll from a suicide bombing in Pakistan has risen to 63, with more than 120 others wounded. The attack targeted a rally for the religious political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) in the tribal district of Bajaur, northwestern Pakistan. The Pakistani military had previously cleared the district of rebels in 2016 after years of fighting the Pakistani Taliban in the region.

The attack was claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group and targeted supporters of the JUI-F, which is headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman. JUI-F is part of the Pakistan Democratic Alliance, a political coalition affiliated with the government. Rehman has demanded the arrest of those responsible for the bombing.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stated that Afghan citizens were involved in recent suicide bombings in Pakistan. He expressed concern over the involvement of Afghan citizens and the availability of sanctuaries across the border for elements hostile to Pakistan. Since the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan, Pakistan has experienced an increase in attacks focused on its western border regions.

The Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is a separate group but aligned with the Afghan Taliban. TTP has carried out various deadly attacks in Pakistan despite denouncing the Bajaur bombing. In the past, Pakistan has witnessed significant attacks, such as the 2014 Taliban attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that killed 147 people and the bombings at a mosque and police headquarters in Peshawar in 2023 which claimed dozens of lives.

The Afghan government has condemned the attack, calling it a criminal act and asserting its commitment to preventing Afghan soil from being used for attacks on anyone.