A car bomb ripped through a crowded market at the busy Kashmir Chowk of Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram Agency, killing 14 people and injuring 76 others in what appears to be a sectarian attack. (According to Reuters news agency, a previously unknown militant group, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Ghazi Group, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was aimed at the Shia community). Witnesses and political administration officials said an explosives-laden white car parked at the busy Kashmir Chowk, exploded, killing two people on the spot while 12 others died at or on the way to hospital. Some of the dead were identified as Syed Gul Agha, Sharif Hussain, Irshad Hussain, Salman Ali, Muntazir Hussain, Shahid Hussain, Hedayat Hussain, Muhammad, Hayat Ali and Syed Sajjad Hussain. Bodies of other victims, including a woman, were mutilated beyond recognition. The blast was so powerful that it destroyed 30 shops and badly damaged 100 others. It also destroyed the boundary wall of a women’s hospital and gutted six vehicles. Political Agent Syed Shahab Ali Shah told journalists that over 50 kilograms of explosives had been used in the explosion. He said that mortars and rockets had been packed together with explosives to make the blast more deadly and destructive and to increase its lethality. Dawn, The News, The Frontier Post, Daily Times.
Three security personnel were injured in two different incidents in Bara tehsil of Khyber Agency on Monday. Officials said that two personnel of Frontier Constabulary were injured critically when an improvised explosive device planted along the roadside in Naw Gazee Baba was detonated through a remote control. A patrolling party of security forces was passing through the area at the time of blast, they added. In another incident, a security official was injured when militants attacked a patrolling party of security forces in Qambarabad near Bara Bazaar. All the injured were shifted to military hospital in Peshawar Dawn
The Taliban said on Monday they were determined to kill Britain’s Prince Harry, serving in Afghanistan four years after his previous deployment was cut short over security concerns. A militia spokesman said the group had a “high-value plan” to attack the third in line to the British throne in southern province Helmand, one of the toughest battlefields in the 10-year war. “We will do our best to kill Prince Harry and Britain’s other troops based in Helmand,” the spokesman, who gave his name as Zabihullah Mujahid, told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. “It is not important for us to kidnap him. We will target him and we will kill him,” he added. The 27-year-old Apache helicopter pilot will spend four months based at the heavily fortified Camp Bastion in Helmand. “Whoever fights in our country is our enemy, and we will do everything possible to kill him,” said Mujahid. The News, The Frontier Post, Daily Times.
The Afghan Taliban denied a report on Monday that some of their leading members were ready to negotiate a comprehensive peace deal involving a long-term US military presence in Afghanistan. A report to be published by the Royal United Services Institute said some leading Taliban were determined to make a decisive break with al Qaeda as part of a settlement and were open to negotiation about allowing education for girls. “The Taliban would be open to negotiating a ceasefire as part of a general settlement, and also as a bridge between confidence-building measures and the core issue of the distribution of political power in Afghanistan,” the report said. The News, Daily Times.
Starting from Eidul Fitr over 300,000 tourists from across the country have so far visited Swat Valley. Confirming this, officials and residents said that during this time not a single act of violence took place in Swat valley, which is known for its archaeological sites of Gandhara civilisation and scenic hamlets. They said that a multitude of tourists were seen in Kalam, Bahrain, Madyan, Malam Jabba, Marghuzar, Saidu Baba, Fizaghat, Mingora and other spots of Swat. They said that restoration of people’s confidence to visit the valley was a great achievement of the local administration. Since 2008 when Taliban militants loyal to Maulana Fazlullah gained control in the area and parts of Kohistan, Dir and Malakand protected area etc most of the tourist spots presented a deserted look. However, owing to sacrifices rendered by people of Swat and law-enforcement agencies for restoration of peace the tourists have started reaching the valley in droves to enjoy serenity and beauty of small hamlets of Swat and cultural heritage. Dawn.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Masood Kausar has directed all political agents to actively participate in anti-polio campaigns and warned them of strict action over negligence. He said this during the inauguration of a polio control room at Fata Secretariat here. The governor said vaccinators, who performed well in anti-polio campaigns, were being rewarded. He said despite security challenges in Fata, polio workers were performing assigned tasks diligently and well and thus, significantly contributing towards polio eradication from the country. The ceremony was also attended by Fata additional chief, law and order and social sector secretaries, and officials of the health and other departments. On the occasion, Mr Nazir Ahmad of Save the Children presented keys of a vaccine carrying vehicle to the governor for the health services directorate of Fata Secretariat. The governor thanked him for the vehicle and said modern facilities would help increase efficiency of polio teams in Fata. Dawn.
The prolonged ban on cellular phone service and occurrence of technical fault in landlines have forced the dwellers of Kurram Agency to switch over to Afghan cellular service. The tribal people of Kurram have no other option but to use Afghan cellular companies’ service as the government has imposed ban on services of Pakistani cellular phone companies since 2008. Presently MTN, Etisalat are operating in Afghanistan and its signals are active in Kurram Agency. “Users pay five times more to Afghan companies as compared to Pakistani cellular companies,” an official told Dawn on condition of anonymity. Dawn.
Ten policemen and six civilians were killed when a suicide bombing ripped through a busy marketplace in the capital of northern Kunduz province on Monday afternoon, officials said. Several others, including a woman and a child, were wounded in the blast that took place at a crowded square in Kunduz City at 3:15pm, the deputy police chief of the province said. Col. Ghulam Mohammad Farhad told Pajhwok Afghan News members of Public Order Police, who had been called in to provide security for a rally in the city, were the bomber’s target. Acting public health director Dr. Daud Akbari confirmed receiving 16 bodies and 30 injured people from the scene. He said some of the critically injured were evacuated to a zonal hospital and a facility of Doctors Without Borders. The Frontier Post, Daily Times.
SIRAJ UDDIN, NAWAF KHAN