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TTP Allegedly Used Afghan Soil to Target Chinese Engineers: Interior Minister and Nacta Chief Make Revelations

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In a press conference held in Lahore, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi revealed that the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), operating from Afghanistan, along with hostile foreign intelligence agencies, orchestrated the March 26 suicide attack on Chinese engineers in Bisham. The attack, resulting in the deaths of five Chinese engineers and their Pakistani driver, was allegedly planned in Afghanistan and carried out with the assistance of handlers and facilitators based in Pakistan. Naqvi emphasized that the attack was entirely coordinated from Afghanistan with the specific aim of targeting Chinese personnel in Pakistan. He further asserted that the TTP leadership orchestrated the attack as a major operation, with substantial funding provided by enemy intelligence agencies.

Naqvi called upon the interim Afghan government to apprehend three alleged terrorists, Bakhtiar Shah, Qari Abdullah, and Khan Lala, as well as TTP chief Noor Wali Mehsud, Malakand Commander Azmatullah, and the entire leadership of the banned group. He stressed the importance of cooperation from Afghanistan in apprehending and prosecuting these individuals.

These revelations are anticipated to further strain the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, as Islamabad has repeatedly urged Kabul to take action against TTP terrorists based in Afghanistan. Despite continued requests, the interim Afghan government has not taken adequate measures to prevent militants from launching attacks from safe havens in the country. Naqvi expressed Pakistan’s disappointment with the lack of cooperation from Afghanistan, stating that the terrorists are exploiting the weaknesses of the Afghan government.

In response to a query about Pakistan’s course of action, if the Afghan government fails to cooperate, Naqvi stated that the government would consider unilateral measures. These statements come nearly two weeks after the Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations, Maj-Gen Ahmed Sharif, revealed that the attack was planned in Afghanistan and the suicide bomber was an Afghan national.

Rai Tahir, the coordinator of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), also disclosed that the attacker, identified as Muttaqi alias Taqi, was originally from Afghanistan. Security forces have apprehended 11 suspects, including the attacker and their alleged Pakistani handlers. The suspects are currently in the custody of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Counter Terrorism Department, and a chargesheet will be presented to the court after their remand is completed.

Tahir provided a detailed timeline of the events leading up to the attack, stating that the attacker had travelled from Afghanistan four months prior to the attack and resided with his alleged Pakistani handlers, Adil Shazeb and Shafiq Qureshi, who prepared him for the attack. The Nacta chief also revealed the individuals involved in planning and executing the attack, shedding light on the cross-border movements and activities leading up to the tragic incident.

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