Probe points to ‘Afghan link’ in suicide attack on Chinese engineers

Pakistan to raise issue with Afghanistan, wants Chinese authorities to also exert pressure on Kabul

Kamran Yousaf April 02, 2024
Site of the suicide attack. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Pakistan has decided to raise the issue of the use of Afghan soil in the recent terrorist attacks targeting Chinese engineers with the Taliban interim government, as the initial investigation suggested a link with Afghanistan.

Six people, including five Chinese engineers, were killed in a suicide attack in Besham, a remote area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, on March 26.

An explosive-laden vehicle parked on the roadside blew up when the convoy, transporting Chinese engineers to the Dasu hydroelectric project site from Islamabad, passed by.

This was the second attack on Chinese workers at the Dasu project. In July 2021, a similar terrorist attack killed 13 people, including nine engineers.

Read more: Besham terror attack backed by enemies of Pak-China friendship: FO

Though no group has claimed responsibility for the March 26 attack, initial investigations suggest a network linked to the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was behind the incident.

Authorities have made certain arrests since then based on the SIM card recovered from the suicide bomber, who is thought to be an Afghan national.

The car used in the terrorist attack was non-custom paid and smuggled into Pakistan through the Chaman border. Investigations claim that the car remained parked for 10 days at a petrol station near Shangla and was moved to the site the day the Chinese travelled to the area.

People familiar with the development say that there is no doubt that Afghan soil was used in the attack on Chinese engineers. That is the reason Pakistan will take up the matter through diplomatic channels with Afghan authorities, according to sources.

Read: PM Shehbaz likely to visit China amid renewed terror threat

They say that Pakistan, based on the investigation, will ask the Taliban government to take action against the group responsible for the attack on the Chinese.

In order to exert maximum pressure, Pakistan wants the Chinese authorities to also raise the matter with Kabul. Islamabad is keeping the Chinese authorities abreast of the investigations.

Observers believe that if an Afghan link is established to the Chinese attack, it may undermine ties between Beijing and Kabul.

China, unlike Pakistan, has developed close ties with the Afghan Taliban government. It is the only country that has accepted a full-time Taliban-appointed ambassador, something seen as tacit recognition of the current de facto rulers of Kabul.

But the attack on Chinese and its interests, having links with Afghan soil, may force Beijing to review its strategy. Pakistan feels that a collective approach to dealing with the terrorist threat can help achieve the desired results.


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