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Taliban Bombs Kill 6 People in Pakistan

  • Ayaz Gul

A Pakistani security officer stands on alert at the site of a bombing in Ghalanai in the Pakistan's tribal region of Mohmand, Feb. 15, 2017.

Two separate bomb explosions in northwestern Pakistan killed at least six people and wounded many more Wednesday.

Officials say the deadliest incident happened in the Mohmand tribal district near the Afghan border, where a suicide bomber blew himself up after security forces spotted and tried to stop him.

The blast killed three Pakistani security personnel and two civilians.

A second bomber accompanying the attacker was gunned down while he tried to detonate explosives strapped to his body.

A military statement asserted the two bombers had come from Afghanistan and planned to attack an area hosting offices, training facilities and residential buildings for employees of the local administration in the central town of Ghalanai.

A splinter faction of the anti-state Pakistani Taliban called Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, or JuA, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Peshawar attack

Hours later, a suicide bomber riding a motorbike attacked an official van transporting members of the provincial judiciary in the city of Peshawar. Officials said the blast killed the driver and wounded four judges, including three women.

A policeman stands guard at the scene of a bomb attack in Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 15, 2017.
A policeman stands guard at the scene of a bomb attack in Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 15, 2017.

Mohammad Khorasani, a spokesman for the main Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility. He said that members of the judiciary were targeted for trying and sentencing Taliban fighters.

The blasts followed Monday’s suicide bombing in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore in which at least 13 people were killed and nearly 100 wounded.

Seven policemen, including two high-ranking police officers were among the dead.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar took credit for that attack.

Pakistani officials allege that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is plotting terrorist attacks in the country from its sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

'Grave concern'

On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry summoned the deputy head of the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad to convey Pakistan’s “grave concern” about the continuing terrorist attacks by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. It demanded the Kabul government take urgent measures to eliminate the group’s “sanctuaries, financiers and handlers operating from its territory” using “actionable intelligence” Pakistan has already shared with Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, condemned the violence and rejected allegations the Afghan intelligence agency is supporting it.

Speaking in Islamabad late Wednesday, the Afghan diplomat said his country faces such terrorist attacks on a daily basis.

Zakhilwal praised successes that Pakistan’s counter-militancy operations have achieved in areas near the Afghan border, but emphasized the need for joint efforts to fight terrorism on both sides.

“Not all [insurgents] were eliminated [by Pakistani operations]. Certainly some of them have moved into territory that are not under our control in Afghanistan. So, if indeed, these elements on Afghan soil plan certain things against Pakistan, that is not necessarily of course equated to attacks being supported in any way or shape by responsible institutions and people in Afghanistan.”

On Sunday, a roadside bomb in South Waziristan, another tribal district near the Afghan border, killed at least three Pakistani security forces.

Khorasani claimed his group planted the bomb.

The spike in militant violence in Pakistan comes after a months-long lull, with officials citing an ongoing counterterrorism military offensive in border areas for the decline in violence.

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