Pakistani Taliban splinter group that claimed Wagah border attack says it has ‘access’ to other side of border.
A breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban that claimed responsibility for a devastating suicide bombing earlier this week threatened on Wednesday to carry out attacks inside India.
At least 55 people were killed and more than 120 wounded at Wagah border, the main Pakistan-India border crossing, on Sunday when a bomb tore through crowds of spectators leaving after the daily ceremony to close the frontier.
Jamaat ul Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban that broke away from the main leadership in September, was one of a number of groups that claimed responsibility for the attack. The group’s spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said India would be the target of their next attack, warning Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his country was not “out of reach” for the group.
“India is included in our next attack, Narendra Modi should not have this misconception that we cannot attack his country,” he said. “If we can attack on one side of the border we can also attack on the other side of the border. We do have access to the other side of the border,” he added.
Ehsan also repeated his group’s claims that they carried out the Wagah border crossing attack, saying he would soon release a video to prove his faction was behind the blast.
There were several conflicting claims of responsibility for the attack, reflecting the fragmentation the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement has undergone in recent weeks. Abdullah Bahar, a spokesman for a Pakistani Taliban faction loyal to its dead chief Hakimullah Mehsud, said they carried it out to avenge Mehsud’s killing in a U.S. drone strike last year. TV channels also ran claims from a third militant faction, called Jundullah.
But the Jamaat ul Ahrar faction, which broke away from the main TTP leadership in September, rubbished the claim and said they were behind the blast.
Ehsan previously said in an email statement that the attack was revenge for those killed in the ongoing Pakistani military operation in North Waziristan.