November 22, 2018
At least three people have been killed after a bomb struck Haqqani network militants in their hideout in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, local officials and militant sources say.
A Pakistani security official in the region said on Thursday that nearly a dozen people were also wounded in the attack in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region.
A Haqqani source confirmed that casualties were caused after the bomb exploded at a meeting place for militants operating across the region. One of those wounded was regional commander Jamshed Khan.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
The Haqqani network operates on both the Pakistani and Afghan side of the border. It has been behind some deadly attacks against civilians, security forces and NATO forces in the Afghan capital over the past decade.
The militants were blamed for a devastating truck bomb in the heart of Kabul in May 2017 that killed around 150 people, though the Haqqani network later denied any involvement.
The network was formed 30 years ago to fend off the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and still boasts a strong presence in eastern Afghanistan and in the tribal districts of North Waziristan in Pakistan’s restive northwest along the Afghan border.
The US and Afghanistan frequently accuse Pakistan of providing a safe haven to senior Haqqani commanders and allowing the group to operate freely on Pakistan’s side of the porous frontier.
Washington also accuses Islamabad of ignoring or even collaborating with groups which attack Afghanistan from safe havens along the border between the two countries, but Pakistan denies it.
Successive US governments have criticized Pakistan for links with the Taliban and for harboring former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
US President Donald Trump, during a Fox News TV interview aired on Sunday, defended canceling assistance worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Pakistan earlier this year because “they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
Trump also suggested that Pakistani authorities knew bin Laden’s location prior to his killing allegedly in a raid inside Pakistan in 2011.
Afghanistan has been gripped by insecurity since the US and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror in 2001. Many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops.
US forces have been bogged down there through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Trump. Militants are now launching attacks on both Pakistani and Afghan soil.
Pakistan, which joined the US war on terror in 200, says it has paid the price for the alliance.
Senior civilian and military officials in Islamabad have frequently said the US government is making Pakistan a scapegoat to cover Washington’s failure in Afghanistan.