A powerful commander of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan claimed credit for a suicide bombing at a mosque run by a rival terror group in the contested tribal agency of Khyber today, killing five people.
The suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside of a Lashkar-e-Islam mosque in the Tirah Valley in Khyber, killing three militants and two civilians, and wounding nine other people, according to AFP. A spokesman for the Lashkar-e-Islam blamed the Taliban for the attack.
Mohammed Afridi, a spokesman for Taliban commander Tariq Afridi, told The Associated Press that his factions carried out the attack. Tariq Afridi, the powerful Taliban commander based in Darra Adam Khel, has taken control of Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan’s operations in Khyber.
The Lashkar-e-Islam has established its own Taliban-like government in large areas of the tribal agency, including Bara, Jamrud, and the Tirah Valley. The group provides recruits to battle US and Afghan forces across the border, and has attacked NATO’s vital supply line which moved through Khyber before it was shut down by the Pakistani government in November 2011. The Pakistani military has targeted the Lashkar-e-Islam during multiple operations since 2008, but has failed to dislodge the group from power.