Peshawar, Feb 4 (PTI) A desperate Pakistan has sought Afghan Taliban chief Haibuttallah Akhundzada’s help to rein in the outlawed Pakistani Taliban outfit responsible for a wave of terror attacks in the country, including the recent Peshawar mosque carnage that killed over 100 people, according to a media report on Saturday.
Pakistan has been hit by a wave of terrorism, mostly in the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, but also in Balochistan and the Punjab town of Mianwali, which borders the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. In the Peshawar mosque attack on Monday, a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up during the afternoon prayers, killing 101 people and injuring more than 200 others.
During the Apex Committee meeting here on Friday, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership decided to seek Afghan Taliban chief Haibuttallah Akhundzada’s intervention to control the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), according to The Express Tribune newspaper.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, who attended Friday’s meeting, said the masterminds of the Peshawar Mosque attack could be in Afghanistan, and added that the federal government would raise this issue with their Afghan counterparts, the report said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday acknowledged the failure to avert the Peshawar carnage that killed over 100 people and called for “national unity” to tackle the menace. “There is a need for unity across the political spectrum. This act of terrorism managed to breach the security check post and reach the mosque. We should not feel hesitant in admitting the facts,” Sharif said at the meeting.
Meanwhile, Pakistani authorities claimed to have made an “important breakthrough” in its probe into the Peshawar Mosque attack by identifying the suicide bomber through his DNA samples. Police said the DNA test was conducted and the investigators are trying to trace the family of the bomber.
In November last year, the TTP called off an indefinite ceasefire agreed with the government in June 2022 and ordered its militants to carry out attacks on the security forces. The TTP, which is believed to have close links to al-Qaeda, has threatened to target top leaders of Prime Minister Sharif’s PML-N and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s PPP if the ruling coalition continued to implement strict measures against the militants.
Pakistan hoped that the Afghan Taliban after coming to power would stop the use of their soil against Pakistan by expelling the TTP operatives but they have apparently refused to do so at the cost of straining ties with Islamabad. The TTP, set up as an umbrella group of several militant outfits in 2007, called off a ceasefire with the federal government and ordered its militants to stage terrorist attacks across the country.
The group, which is believed to be close to al-Qaeda, has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases, and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.
In 2014, the Pakistani Taliban stormed the Army Public School (APS) in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing at least 150 people, including 131 students. Monday’s deadly attack has sent shockwaves across the world and was widely condemned.