A Taliban suicide bomber managed to enter the restricted area of the armed forces’ unit and blew himself up near the troops playing volleyball, killing 11 soldiers and wounding 13 others, in the first big attack after 2013 in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley.
The Inter-Services Public Relations, the Pakistan Army’s media wing, said the attacker yesterday targeted the sports area of the armed forces’ unit and those killed include seven soldiers who were critically injured in the attack. A captain of the Pakistan Army was among the dead.
Thirteen people were injured in the blast in Swat district’s Kabal Tehsil. The injured persons were taken to Saidu Teaching Hospital in Mingora in Swat, it added.
Citing the army officials in Swat, ‘The News’ reported that the soldiers were playing a volleyball match outside their base camp in Kabal last evening when a young suicide bomber managed to enter the restricted area and blew himself up near the soldiers.
The Afghanistan-based Pakistani Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the paper said.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Mohammad Khurasani claimed they had sent a young suicide bomber, Siddiqullah, to carry out the suicide attack on the military camp in Swat.
The forces have cordoned off the area and started a search operation.
The Taliban also warned more attacks in near future.
The last deadly Taliban attack in Swat Valley dates back to January 2013, when the militants struck a religious center and killed 21 worshippers and injured 70 others.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi strongly condemned the attack, saying the coward terrorist enemy is no match for the valiant sons of the soil.
“No cowardly attack can deter us in pursuing our struggle against the menace of terrorism to its logical conclusion. We will continue our fight till the last trace is rooted out,” the prime minister said.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan also condemned the attack.
The picturesque Swat valley has witnessed several attacks and was briefly controlled by Taliban between 2007 and 2009 until a massive military operation routed them from the area.
At least two militants were killed during a search operation in December last year.
In October, one person was killed and two others injured when a remote-controlled bomb went off in Malam Jabba area.