TTP distance itself from Peshawar Police Lines Blast

Why did TTP distance itself from Peshawar Police Lines Blast?

Investigation teams working on the bomb attack that took place at a mosque inside a police compound in Peshawar during afternoon prayers on Monday 30 January 2023, have found substantial evidence showing a group closely working with TTP has carried out the attack.

Talking to this scribe, the official said, the investigation team has reached out to the mastermind of the attack. As per the investigation, it was found that Omer Mukkaram Khorasani alias Sarbakaf Momand the head of TTP affiliate Jamat al Ahrar, had planned the suicide attack in Afghanistan. Sarbakaf Momand is TTP shadow Governor for Zhob (Balochistan) and related to the faction’s former head Umer Khalid Khorassani who was killed in IED attack inside Afghanistan. According to the findings of the investigation team, eight persons were used for the attack. It says alleged RAW agent Bashir who is living in Afghanistan has provided money and other logistics for the attack. To add to the worries, investigators say there were a total of four suicide attackers out of which three are still at large.

The question arises why TTP distances itself from the attack which otherwise would have been taken as a huge success for the group. Riffatullah Orakzai, senior journalist and militancy observer said TTP denied its involvement because there was severe public anger over the attack and TTP had to deny its role to avoid public reaction.

Iftikhar Firdos, a journalist working on militancy and terrorism in AfPak region says there are several factors that forced TTP to deny its role; first: it’s indicative of infighting within the TTP, which the group has managed to downplay. Second: Under pressure from the Taliban interim government, the TTP cannot claim the attack openly. Third: Pro-ISKP sentiments within the TTP are growing and indicative of deflection in the future.

Its noteworthy that Omar Mukaram Khorasani, the now head of the Jamaat-al-Ahrar who also serves as a member of the TTP Central Advisory Council, had claimed in a tweet that “Peshawar Police Lines Mosque attack was revenge for the killing of Omar Khalid Khorasani,” saying there would be more such attacks, but hours later deactivated his Twitter account.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Mohammad Khorasani in a press release denied his group involvement in the blast saying that targeting mosques, schools, and funerals was strictly prohibited by his movement’s constitution. Security Experts say that the TTP statement denying involvement in the bombing is just a face-saving tactic to save its skin from public anger otherwise many TTP members have already accepted that the group was responsible.

Banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan TTP last November ended a temporary ceasefire with the Pakistani government and declared that it would resume attacks.