Horrible massacre

On Friday, two suicide bombers attacked the Frontier Constabulary (FC) Training Centre in Shabqadar area of Charsadda district, killing 89 people as per the latest reports and wounding at least 140. The death toll is likely to rise. Of those who have died, 69 were paramilitary cadets who were heading home for a break after six months of training. The double suicide bombing took place within a gap of minutes when the young FC men were piling their luggage on buses parked outside the gates of the training centre. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack and vowed to carry out more such attacks in an act of retribution for the killing of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

It is very unfortunate that in the aftermath of Osama’s assassination, our security forces have not shown alertness of mind. The open threat that the TTP issued after Osama’s death should have led to more precautions but it seems to be business as usual. Official vehicles parked outside the training centre were obviously vulnerable to an attack. In the light of this horrible massacre, our security forces must at least take doable precautions if nothing else.

It is quite clear that TTP leader Hakeemullah Mehsud and those of his ilk identify with al Qaeda and its slain leader. Those who think that the Taliban are any different from al Qaeda should now recognise the nexus between the two terror groups, both ideological and organisational. When the military launched an offensive in South Waziristan to rid the area of the Taliban, the TTP took refuge in North Waziristan under the patronage of the Haqqani network. Since our military establishment is very close to the Haqqanis, no action against the TTP has so far been taken in North Waziristan. Differences between Hakeemullah and the Haqqanis emerged after the TTP killed Colonel Imam, who was said to be the godfather of the Taliban. It is now in the interest of our security forces to take the TTP out as the threat of increased and more deadly attacks is looming large on the horizon. It is time to go into North Waziristan and eliminate all these malignant elements.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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