Death toll in Pakistan mosque blast skyrockets
February 1, 2023 - Pakistan authorities accuse the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) of the January 30 suicide bomb attack on the Kucha Risaldar mosque in Peshawar that killed over 100 people and injured 225 others.
The TTP, which boasts several thousand fighters on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, has become the largest militant organization fighting against the state in Pakistan.
According to a report from the Center for Research and Security Studies, there were 376 terrorist attacks in Pakistan in 2022 that killed 533 people and injured another 832, including 14 suicide bombings that claimed 108 lives.
The TTP, Islamic State’s Khorasan (IS-K), Baloch Liberation Army and TTP splinter groups carried out 179 terrorist attacks in Pakistan last year.
The TTP is a by-product of the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. At the time, many jihadists who had fought on behalf of the Pakistani government in Afghanistan and Indian Kashmir turned against the Pakistani state for its support of the United States’ so-called global war on terror.
Formed in 2007, the TTP claimed to be an extension of the Afghan Taliban and joined the war against the U.S. and its NATO allies.
Although the TTP suffered a decline from 2014 to 2018 from Pakistani military action and U.S. drone strikes, the Trump administration’s peace deal with the Taliban in February 2020 led to a resurgence.
Since July of that year, ten militant groups opposed to the Pakistani state have merged with the TTP, including Al Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates.
Following its takeover in August 2021, the Afghan Taliban released hundreds of TTP prisoners from jails in Kabul, strengthening the group.
Hours after Monday’s mosque bombing, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan called for Afghan Taliban rulers to stand by their 2020 pledge not to allow militants to use their soil for attacks against another country.
“They should honour their promises,” Khan said.