Pakistan: Peshawar Bombing Planned In Afghanistan, Foreign Intelligence Agency Funded It, Say Investigators

The suicide bombing at a mosque in Pakistan's Peshawar killed 101 and injured over 200. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Visual from Peshawar mosque blast

The suicide bombing in Pakistan's Peshawar was planned in Afghanistan and the terror plot was funded by a foreign intelligence agency, according to Pakistani investigators on the case. 

A suide bomber struck a mosque in high-security Police Lines area of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on January 30. A total of 101 were killed and over 200 were injured. The terrorist group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the bombing. 

Most of the victims were police personnel. At least a deputy superintendent of police, five sub-inspectors and the mosque's prayer leader Maulana Sahibzada Noorul Amin were among the dead. 

The security agencies have so far arrested 17 persons. The suspected bomber was earlier identified as 37-year-old Mohammed Ayaz from Mohmand district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

What have officials said?

The Counter Terrorism Department Peshawar has announced a bounty of PKR 10 million for the facilitators of the suicide bomber.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Police Chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said the suicide bomber's identity has been identified through his DNA samples.

"The facilitators behind this heinous attack will be arrested soon," he said.

Earlier, officials said the bomber disguised himself in a police uniform to sneak into the high-security zone and was riding a motorcycle with a helmet and mask on. The motorcycle used in the blast was sold twice in Sarki Gate, Peshawar's bustling market, officials said. Police said they have arrested the sellers of the motorcycle.

The bomber left his helmet at the gate before entering the highly-secured mosque which was captured in the CCTV footage.

What's Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)?

The terrorist group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has taken responsibility for the Peshawar bombing, the deadliest in Pakistan in decades.

The TTP is an umbrella organisation of Islamist groups formed in 2007 opposed to the Pakistani state and Western partners, according to US  National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

The NCTC states, "TTP’s stated objectives are the expulsion of Islamabad’s influence in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and neighboring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan [and] the implementation of a strict interpretation of sharia throughout Pakistan...TTP leaders also publicly say that the group seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in Pakistan that would require the overthrow of the Pakistani Government."

The think tank Counter Extremism Project (CEP) notes that the TTP has links with the Afghan Taliban and terrorist group Al Qaeda.

"As an ally of the Afghan Taliban, the TTP also fought the US-backed Afghan government prior to the latter’s defeat in August 2021. The TTP was founded in late 2007 by a group of Pakistani militants who had previously fought in Afghanistan alongside both the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and the group has maintained close ties to both organizations since," says CEP about the TTP.

The TTP was until recently in talks with the Pakistani government but it walked out of the talks and announced an offensive against the state.

Pakistan has been hit by a wave of terrorist attacks, mostly in the country's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, but also in Balochistan and Punjab.

During the Apex Committee meeting held earlier this month, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership decided to seek Afghan Taliban chief Haibuttallah Akhundzada’s intervention to control the TTP. The TTP has active links with the Taliban. 

(With PTI inputs)