Pakistan’s military says March attack that killed Chinese engineers was planned in Afghanistan

Associated Press

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s military on Tuesday said a suicide bombing that killed five Chinese engineers and a Pakistani driver in March was planned in neighboring Afghanistan and that the bomber was an Afghan citizen.

At a news conference, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Ahmad Sharif said four men behind the March 26 attack in Bisham, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, had been arrested.

Sharif said the attack that killed the Chinese engineers, who were working on Pakistan’s biggest Dasu Dam, was an attempt to harm the friendship between Pakistan and China. Thousands of Chinese are working on projects relating to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Sharif also said Pakistani Taliban who have sanctuaries in Afghanistan were behind a surge in attacks inside Pakistan since January that killed 62 security forces nationwide, and that Pakistan had solid evidence of the group’s inovlevemnt in the rising violence.

In a statement on Tuesday, the U.S. consulate said it was “aware of a threat of a terrorist attack at Karachi Port,” and asked its citizens and embassy staff to stay away from the area. It also advised them to keep a low profile and stay alert in places frequented by tourists.

Karachi — Pakistan’s largest city — has witnessed several militant attacks on Chinese and Pakistanis in recent years. Last month, five Japanese workers narrowly escaped a suicide blast that targeted their van and killed a Pakistani bystander.
Sharif said the Afghan Taliban had failed to honor promises they made to the international community before coming to power, vowing no one would be allowed to use Afghan soil for attacks against any country.

The Pakistani Taliban — a separate group but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban which seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 — had denied being behind the March attack, saying in a statement at the time that “our sole targets are security forces (and their agents) imposed upon us. We are in no way involved in this attack.”

Additionally, the army spokesman vowed not to allow any undocumented foreigners to remain in the country. He said Pakistan’s military had completed 98% of a fence being constructed along the border with Afghanistan and 91% of a fence along the Iranian border had also been completed to check illegal movement, curb smuggling and prevent cross-border militant attacks.

Since last year, nearly 563,639 Afghans living illegally have gone back to Afghanistan after Islamabad launched a crackdown on illegal migrants, drawing widespread criticism from international and domestic human rights groups.

Sharif also dismissed media reports about the possibility of any deal or talks with the country’s imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan or his party. Khan is serving multiple prison sentences on charges of corruptionrevealing official secrets and marriage law violations.

Khan was ousted by a parliamentary no-confidence vote in April 2022. He accused the military, his rival, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and the United States of being behind his ouster. All three have denied the accusation.


Pakistan’s military says March attack that killed Chinese engineers was planned in Afghanistan