KHAR: Senior officials on Sunday confirmed that a deadly bombing in Bajaur tribal region was carried out by a burqa-clad woman, in the country’s first known case of a female suicide attack.
The suicide blast on Saturday, claimed by the local Taliban, hit a World Food Programme distribution point and killed 47 people in Khar, the main town in Bajaur Agency.
“We have found henna-applied hair and hand and feet and other body parts at the site of the attack, which leaves no doubt that the bomber was a woman,” top local administration official Zakir Hussain Afridi told AFP, adding that they were trying to determine which tribe she belonged to and where she used to live.
Another senior administration official, Muhammad Jamil, confirmed that the bomber was a woman.
The assistant head of police for Khyber-Pahkhtunkhwa province, Shafqat Malik, said it was the first proven case of a woman suicide bomber in the country. “Some attacks reported to be carried out by women in the past could not be proven,” said Malik, who also leads the province’s bomb disposal squad.
A spokesperson for the Pakistani Taliban, Azam Tariq, claimed that the attack was carried out by his organisation and it targeted the local pro-government Salarzai tribe which runs its own anti-insurgent militia.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai urged Islamabad to “spare no effort in eliminating” elements responsible for the attack. Karzai also stressed the need for the two countries to work together on boosting efforts against violent extremism.
“The Bajaur agency terrorist attack once again reveals the true face of those who have no other motive but shedding blood and causing terror.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2010.