Photo: @WaliKhan_TK / X

Pakistan Claims Suicide Bomber Who Killed Chinese Nationals Came from Afghanistan

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has arrested over 10 individuals involved in facilitating the recent attack on Chinese nationals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.  

As reported by Pakistani media outlet Geo News on Monday, April 1, the commander responsible for bringing the suicide bomber to Pakistan from Afghanistan has also been arrested.

The report indicates that the vehicle laden with explosives, used in the deadly attack, was prepared in Afghanistan and then transported to Pakistan through the Chaman border crossing in Balochistan.

“From there, the vehicle was transported to Chakdara in Lower Dir — via a smuggler of non-custom paid vehicles — for which the driver was paid Rs250,000.”

Five Chinese nationals and a Pakistani driver were killed when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into their convoy near Besham city in northwest Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The incident occurred on Tuesday, March 26, as the convoy was on its way from Islamabad to Dasu, the location of a significant hydroelectric dam being constructed by a Chinese company, roughly 167 miles from the capital.

No group or individuals have claimed responsibility for the attack. However, according to Geo News, its source suggests that an affiliated outfit of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is believed to be involved in the incident.

Pakistan’s close ally, China, has made substantial investments in various projects in the country. However, the safety of Chinese nationals engaged in these projects is frequently jeopardized by many armed groups in the region.

In 2021, an explosion targeting a bus at Dasu resulted in the deaths of at least 13 individuals, including nine Chinese nationals.

Following the latest attack, Beijing urged Islamabad to promptly initiate an investigation and “swiftly” apprehend the perpetrators to ensure they face justice.

“The Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in Pakistan have launched an emergency plan immediately, requesting the Pakistani side to thoroughly investigate the attack and severely punish the perpetrators,” the Chinese embassy in Islamabad said in a statement.

President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, condemned the attack on Chinese nationals, affirming that “Anti-Pakistani elements will never succeed in harming the Pakistan-China friendship.”

Shehbaz Sharif, the Pakistani Prime Minister, has ordered a “thorough” investigation into the incident, emphasizing that the perpetrators of the attack should be swiftly brought to justice. 

“Terrorism is a transnational threat that has been instrumentalized by the enemies of Pakistan to stymie Pakistan’s progress and development. The acts targeting Pakistan-China friendship are particularly aimed at creating mistrust between the two iron brothers,” he said.

The ruling regime in Afghanistan also condemned the attack in Pakistan, saying that they too are victims of ISIS and other terrorist groups.

The latest development comes amidst strained relations between Islamabad and the Taliban in recent years, primarily revolving around the issue of the TTP, an ideological offshoot of the Taliban that fights against the Pakistani government. 

Pakistan claims that leaders and members of the TTP are hiding in Afghanistan, receiving funding and military equipment from the Taliban to launch cross-border attacks. However, the Taliban has consistently denied these claims in the past.