March 26, 2023

At least 28 people were killed and around 150 injured in an alleged attack on Monday (January 30th) at a mosque inside the police headquarters in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Pakistan again in mourning. An explosion left at least 28 dead and 150 injured at a mosque inside the police headquarters in Peshawar, in the north of the country.

The explosion occurred at prayer time. It blew off the roof and a wall of the mosque, said an AFP reporter who saw bloody wounded being taken out of the damaged building and the bodies of apparently dead people being taken away in ambulances.

“So far, 28 people have been killed and nearly 150 injured. Most of the victims were police,” Ghulam Ali, governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital, told reporters.

another terrorist attack?

The authorities suspect a new terrorist attack, in an area which is nevertheless one of the best monitored in the city and which also houses the premises of various intelligence agencies.

“The terrorists want to create panic by targeting those who are fulfilling their duty to defend Pakistan,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in a statement. “Those who fight Pakistan will be wiped off the face of the earth.”

In March 2022, a suicide attack claimed by Ei-K, the regional branch of Daesh, in a Shiite mosque in Peshawar, left 64 dead. It was the deadliest attack in Pakistan since 2018.

the taliban and the still dangerous ei-k

Peshawar, about fifty kilometers from the border with Afghanistan, was ravaged by almost daily attacks during the first half of the 2010s, but security there had improved greatly in recent years. In recent months, the city has mostly seen targeted attacks aimed primarily at police forces.

Pakistan has been facing deteriorating security for some months, especially since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in August 2021. After several years of relative calm, the attacks have resumed with renewed vigour, led by the Pakistani Taliban of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Ei-K or Baloch separatist groups.

Pakistan accuses the Taliban of letting these groups use Afghan soil to plan their attacks, which Kabul has repeatedly denied.

The TTP, a movement distinct from that of the new Afghan leaders but which shares common roots with it, has claimed responsibility for several attacks in recent months. One of his worst atrocities, which left a lasting mark on Pakistan’s national consciousness, was the massacre of around 150 people, mostly schoolchildren, in Peshawar in December 2014.

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