A suicide bomber killed 22 people, including 17 Pakistan paramilitary soldiers, in an attack yesterday in the main town of Miramshah in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.
The suicide bomber rammed a water tanker packed with explosives into a checkpoint manned by the Tochi Scouts of the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary formation that operates in northwestern Pakistan, according to Geo News. The Inter-Services Public Relations, the military’s public affairs branch, confirmed that “17 security forces personnel embraced shahadat (martyrdom)” in the attack.
No group has claimed credit for the attack. The Miramshah area is controlled by both the Haqqani Network and Hafiz Gul Bahadar, the top Taliban commander in North Waziristan. A host of allied terror groups such as al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and the “Punjabi Taliban,” a conglomerate of Punjabi jihadists from groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-a-Jhangvi, operate in Miramshah.
Bahadar and the Haqqani Network maintain a truce with the Pakistani military and the government, but attacks against security forces and government officials are common. In January, four soldiers were wounded in an IED attack in the Mir Ali area.
Although the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan is blamed for most of the attacks in North Waziristan, Bahadar’s forces and those of the Haqqani Network have broken the truce and attacked Pakistani forces in the past. Pakistan refuses to conduct an operation to clear the area of the Haqqanis’ and Bahadar’s forces, despite the fact that they are in violation of the truce by attacking security forces, sheltering al Qaeda and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, running a parallel administration to govern the remote tribal agency, and launching attacks against NATO and Afghan forces across the border in Afghanistan.