The Taliban claimed responsibility for a rare female suicide attack and another bombing on Friday against the police to “avenge” military operations in the tribal belt.
A female in her late teens blew herself up near a police check post killing another woman as well, just hours after a separate bomb planted in a pushcart killed six people in Peshawar.
The head of the Pakistani Taliban in Mohmand Agency, Omar Khalid, threatened of further attacks until offensives waged “to appease the United States” come to an end. “The blasts were in reaction to the current military operation in the tribal areas,” Khalid told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.
A new strategy
Khalid said using women bombers was part of a new strategy. “It is part of our strategy, and in war, strategies keep changing.”
Thursday’s attack at the Lahori Gate neighborhood was perhaps the first incident of its kind in Peshawar that was carried out by a female suicide bomber.
Police officials said that the second attacker was a young girl, 16-17 years of age, who threw a grenade at a police check-point and later blew herself up.
The attack was only the third female suicide bombing that the police have confirmed in Pakistan. The most recent one was the June 25 attack on the Kolachi Police Station in Dera Ismail Khan district, where a female suicide bomber accompanied a group of militants who took over the police station and later blew themselves up.
During years of insurgency, training of female suicide bombers has been a covert affair and there have hardly been any reports on it.
However, the use of female suicide bombers, for the second time in the past two months, shows a growing tendency, which could lead to further deterioration of an already volatile security situation.
Elderly woman identified
An elderly woman, who was killed in Thursday’s suicide attacks and whom the police have suspected of being the attacker’s accomplice, was identified late Thursday.
The woman, aged 70, was identified as Grana, wife of Kachkol, a resident of Sheikh Abad No 3, street no 3 in Peshawar.
Her son Sherin Zada told The Express Tribune that his mother had gone out at around 8:00 am, adding that she did not return for iftar.
Grana was identified by her family at the hospital. Her body was shifted to her ancestral home where she was buried on Friday.
Sherin Zada maintained that his mother had probably gone to look at the site of the first attack, and fell victim to the second attack.
Her son said he was taken by surprise by the police’s earlier assertion that his mother was the suicide bomber’s accomplice. “Everyone in the area referred to her as ‘nani’; it’s cruel to call her a suicide bomber,” said Niaz Mohammad, an elder of the locality. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2011.