Pakistan Shifting Blame to Afghanistan for Its Jihadist Blunders

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan may be down, but it certainly is not out. Various factions of the terrorist group have launched and claimed several deadly attacks in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in the past months. January was no exception, and the TTP factions struck twice in two consecutive days; first, against a paramilitary border force and then targeting the Bacha Khan University, Charsadda in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's agricultural heartland wherePushkalavati (the Lotus City), the capital of the ancient Gandhara empire, once stood. The attack on the ragtag paramilitary border patrol barely registered on the Pakistani media's radar, but the university assault drew in political and military leadership to the ground zero. At least 20 students and faculty perished in the most brutal assault on this institution named after one of the foremost 20th century torchbearers of nonviolence, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan aka Bacha Khan. 

According to reports, a teacher, Syed Hamid Hussain, put up armed resistance to stymie the terrorist attack, or the losses could have been much worse. Pakistani military eventually neutralized the four attackers. While the TTP's main spokesman deniedinvolvement in the ghastly attack, the outfit's splinter group, led byKhalifa Umar Mansoor, claimed the attack in a detailed video message. The director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations, Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, alleged that the assault was masterminded from Afghanistan and the attackers crossed through the Torkham checkpoint on the Durand Line, apparently after duping the Pakistani security detail there. The military spokesman stated that the attackers were receiving phone calls from an Afghan mobile number during the attack. General Bajwa later on played an audio recording of a phone call where a a terrorist leader is ostensibly calling a Pakistani reporter to claim the attack. As General Bajwa did not share the details of which cellular towers the said number was using during the call, it is hard to comment on the veracity of his claims, especially since Afghan-origin cellular SIM cards are used in tribal and some settled areas of Pakistan rather commonly.



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