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One Wagah blast, too many Taliban claims

One Wagah blast, too many Taliban claims

too mnyLAHORE: The surfacing of a number of contradictory claims for the responsibility of Wagah border suicide attack that killed at least 59 people, reflects the scale of disintegration the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement has undergone in recent weeks, analysts said Sunday.

Abdullah Bahar, a spokesman for a TTP faction loyal to its dead chief Hakimullah Mehsud, said they carried it out to avenge Mehsud’s killing in a US drone strike last year.

But the Jamat-ul-Ahrar faction, which broke away from the main TTP leadership in September, rubbished the claim and said they were behind the blast.

Group spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in an email statement the attack was revenge for those killed in the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan tribal area, on the Afghan border. Ehsan said they would soon release video footage of the attack.

TV channels also ran claims from a third militant faction, called Jundullah.

Pakistan has been wracked by a homegrown Taliban insurgency that has killed thousands of people in recent years.

But attacks, once a near-daily occurrence, have tailed off since the army launched its anti-militant offensive in the northwest.

In June the army began the long-awaited operation against militant hideouts in North Waziristan after a bloody raid on Karachi Airport ended faltering peace talks between the government and the Taliban.

More than 1,100 militants and 100 soldiers have been killed since the start of the operation, and more than 100 militants have surrendered, according to the military.

The Pakistani authorities have also said they are becoming concerned about the possible spread of the influence of the Islamic State group, which has declared a “caliphate” in parts of Iraq and Syria.

As well as being one of restive Pakistan’s few tourist attractions, Wagah is also the main land crossing with India and much of their trade transits through it.–

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