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Pakistan Army says suicide bombing that killed 5 Chinese planned in Afghanistan

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NewsDrum Desk
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Islamabad, May 7 (PTI) The Pakistan Army on Tuesday said the suicide bombing that killed five Chinese nationals in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in March was planned in Afghanistan and carried out by an Afghan national.

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Addressing a press conference, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Maj-Gen Ahmed Sharif accused Afghanistan of allowing militants to use its soil for carrying out attacks inside Pakistan.

He said Afghan soil was used in the attack that killed five Chinese engineers in the Bisham area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in March because the plot for the attack was prepared in Afghanistan.

“This suicide bombing also connects to across the border [in Afghanistan]; the planning of this terrorism [act] was done in Afghanistan. Terrorists and their facilitators were also being controlled from Afghanistan and the suicide bomber was also an Afghan,” Sharif said.

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Five Chinese engineers and their Pakistani driver were killed when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-rigged car into their vehicle in the Bisham area of Shangla district in March. The victims were en route from Islamabad to their camp in Dasu, the headquarters of the Upper Kohistan district of the province.

He said the attacks by the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been going on despite complaints lodged with the Afghan authorities.

“There is concrete evidence that TTP terrorists are still using Afghan soil to launch attacks in Pakistan,” Sharif said, adding that the Foreign Office has lodged 12 protests with the Afghan government over this issue.

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Pakistan has been hosting Afghan refugees for a long time and helped them more than other countries but the Afghan side failed to address concerns regarding the TTP. “TTP terrorists are continuously committing acts of terrorism in Pakistan,” he said.

The head of the army's media wing said so far in 2024, the security forces conducted 13,135 small and major intelligence-based operations (IBOs) against terrorists and their facilitators, during which “249 terrorists were sent to hell while 396 were arrested”. He said more than 100 operations were being conducted daily against terrorism.

He said that during the operations in the ongoing year by Pakistani forces, two of its officers and 60 soldiers were killed.

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Sharif said the drive against illegal Afghan nationals would continue in the larger interest of Pakistan. “So far, 563,639 illegal Afghan citizens have been returned to their countries, yet hundreds of thousands are still living in Pakistan,” he said.

To a question on Pakistan giving military bases to a third country, he categorically rejected such reports by saying: “Pakistan has neither given bases nor it will give to anyone.” Sharif also rejected the rumours about talks with jailed prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, saying that no talks would be held with a group that “attacks the army and malign it”.

“The only way for such a group is to seek forgiveness for its acts. The only way is to seek an apology and commit to avoiding the politics of violence,” he said, about the May 9 violence last year.

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On May 9 last year, violent protests erupted after the arrest of Imran Khan by paramilitary Rangers from the premises of the Islamabad High Court. His party workers vandalised a dozen military installations, including the Jinnah House (Lahore Corps Commander house), Mianwali airbase and the ISI building in Faisalabad. The Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi was also attacked by the mob for the first time.

To a question about rigging in the February 8 parliamentary election, Sharif said the army’s role was to provide security and it provided security for it. “We have no role other than this. Those allegations should be presented before proper forums,” he said.

To a question on the ban on X in Pakistan, Sharif said freedom of speech cannot be allowed to damage the country. PTI SH SCY AKJ SCY SCY

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