Photo: ISPR

Suicide Bomber Targeting Chinese Engineers was Afghan, Pakistan Says

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Pakistan’s military accuses Afghanistan of harboring those behind a suicide attack that killed five Chinese engineers in March. The bomber, they claim, was an Afghan national.

General Ahmed Sharif, head of the Pakistani military’s public relations, condemned the attack as an “act of terrorism” during a press conference on Tuesday, May 7th. He vowed that Pakistan would bring those who facilitated the bombing to justice.

Five Chinese nationals, including a woman, 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 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 Islamabad.

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

Earlier, Pakistani media outlet, Geo news, reported that the vehicle used in the attack, laden with explosives, was prepared in Afghanistan and transported to Pakistan through the Chaman border crossing connecting Pakistan’s Balochistan and Afghanistan’s Kandahar provinces.

According to Pakistani media, the vehicle was then transported to Chakdara in Lower Dir, using a smuggler known for dealing with non-custom paid vehicles. The driver was reportedly paid Rs250,000 ($900) for this service.

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.

Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Pakistan has experienced a surge in terrorist attacks. Militant groups like TTP and its affiliates, which share ideological, operational, and personal alignment with the Afghan Taliban have escalated their violence against Pakistan’s security forces and civilians.

Pakistan claims that members of the militant groups are hiding in Afghanistan, receiving training and advanced military weapons to launch cross border attacks and destabilize the region. The country has consistently demanded the regime in Kabul to take decisive actions against the militant group and surrender them to Islamabad.

“But there is concrete evidence that TTP terrorists are still using Afghan soil to launch attacks in Pakistan,” the Pakistani general said. “In this regard, the FO has registered 12 protests and the army chief has taken a clear stance that Pakistan has its reservations on hideouts of the militant group in Afghanistan,” he added.

The Taliban authorities, however, have denied their ties with the militant group in the past, saying that they are not responsible for the recent security incidents in Pakistan. Taliban officials argue that Pakistan’s internal issues are not their responsibility.

In response to the escalating security situation, last November, the Pakistani government initiated a crackdown on undocumented Afghan refugees in the country. According to the Pakistani General, around 563,639 Afghan refugees have been deported to Afghanistan since the crackdown began.