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Peshawar Suicide Bombing a 'Deja Vu' Moment for Pakistan: Experts

© AP Photo / Muhammad SajjadPolice officers examine the site of Monday's suicide bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 2, 2023.
Police officers examine the site of Monday's suicide bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan, Feb. 2, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.02.2023
A suicide bombing at a Peshawar mosque, located in the heavily guarded zone of the city which houses security and intelligence officers, sent shivers across Pakistan.
India-based Pakistan and Afghanistan geopolitical experts have called the deadly attack on a Peshawar mosque a "deja vu" moment for Islamabad; the terrorists killed 100 people, including nearly 30 policemen.
Pakistan's security agencies have alleged that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorist organization, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, is behind the attack. But the group has yet to take responsibility.

Taliban Dismiss Allegations of Terror Abetment

The initial investigation into the attack revealed that the bomber wore a police uniform. He asked for directions to the mosque from a constable, indicating he wasn't familiar with the neighborhood.
This further raised suspicions that it could have been the handiwork of the TTP, as it is known to be the banned group's modus operandi.
As Pakistan officials suggested the blast that ripped a mosque located inside the provincial police headquarters emanated from Afghanistan, the Taliban** in Kabul were quick to dismiss the allegations.

"We ask Pakistan's ministers to not throw the snow of their own roofs onto the others' roofs. They should consider their problems in their own country. We advise them to look into the Peshawar explosion in great detail," Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said in a press conference on Wednesday.

"Someone says that Afghanistan is the center of terrorism --- but you say that terrorism has no borders. If terrorism existed in Afghanistan, it may then spread to China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran. Today, when they are secure, Afghanistan is also secure and it appears that it does not exist here,” Muttaqi continued.

Political & Economic Instability in Pakistan Plays Into TTP's Hands

Dr. Shalini Chawla, a distinguished fellow at the New Delhi-based Centre for Air Power Studies, a think-tank with close ties to India's security forces, reckons that the Peshawar explosion was "likely" conducted by one of the factions of the TTP.
"The recent statement by Muttaqi is an expected statement that indicates that the Taliban clearly doesn't want to be blamed for the terror attacks in Pakistan. Taliban desperately needs international aid and assistance, and Pakistan's position on the Peshawar attack goes against the Taliban," she told Sputnik on Friday.
She also alleged that contrary to Pakistan's "assumption and belief", the Taliban in Afghanistan has continued to support the TTP.
"It appears the Taliban are returning favors to the TTP, which assisted them in fighting the US and NATO forces," Chawla commented.
Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, prime minister of Pakistan, listens to speeches at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. - Sputnik India, 1920, 04.01.2023
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She highlighted that the Shehbaz Sharif government in Pakistan is "engrossed" in dealing with a worsening financial crisis besides being targeted by rival Imran Khan, thus emboldening the TTP leadership to launch attacks on Pakistan.
Furthermore, the political instability that has engulfed Pakistan since former Pakistan Prime Minister Khan was forced to resign has helped the TTP, and the group is "leveraging it to its strategic advantage."
"At this point in time, it is not very clear whether the attack was initiated by a TTP faction independently or with the consensus of the TTP's central command. What matters is that the TTP has been emboldened significantly post the US exit from Afghanistan, and Pakistan seems to have no solution or strategy to deal with the group after the negotiations failed," she stressed.
According to the defense expert, who specializes in Afghanistan and Pakistan relations, the latter (Pakistan) is now reaping the rewards of what it had sown for years.

'Quagmire of Its Own Making'

Similar sentiments were echoed by Dr. Priyanka Singh, an associate fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, who specializes in matters related to Pakistan. She believes that Islamabad's strategy of normalizing terrorism is now biting back.
"Pakistan is deeply complicit in commissioning terrorism against India. In Afghanistan, Pakistan has remained long embroiled in unleashing violence, hence for decades, preventing the latter's return to peace and normalcy," Singh opined, adding that Islamabad purportedly did all that to maintain its so-called "strategic depth."

Singh believes terrorism blowback has hit Pakistan hard. "The country is badly entangled in a quagmire of its own making."

People visit the site of Monday's suicide bombing after authorities finished the rescue operation, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 01.02.2023
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Talking to Sputnik, Singh also emphasized that the current phase between Pakistan and Afghanistan is similar to India's relations with Islamabad.
For years, India has accused Pakistan of sheltering terrorists in its territory, but the latter has continuously denied the accusations.
"The situation between the two neighbors, as of today (where Pakistan blames terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Kabul denies it) bears some resemblance to the India-Pakistan equations where Pakistan quibbles and invariably denies a link/support to terrorism against India," Singh stated.

"The situation is somewhat of a déjà vu for Pakistan, a bitter realization of all it has done against India’s security interests all these years-when it is losing hundreds of innocent civilian lives in such dastardly acts of violence," she concluded.

*a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries
** under UN sanctions for terrorism