Pakistan suicide bombing carried out by Afghan national, army says

By Asif Shahzad

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s army said on Monday that an Afghan national carried out a suicide bombing on a military convoy, killing two people, in the latest in a string of attacks that Islamabad says is why it is expelling Afghans.

A suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into the convoy on Sunday in a lawless tribal region near Bannu district, close to the Afghan border, the army said. Seven people were wounded, including military officials

“A motorcycle borne suicide bomber was, later, identified as an Afghan national,” the army said.

The army gave no details on how the attacker was identified, their name, or whether Kabul extended any help to share data. The Taliban administration in Kabul did not respond to a request for a comment.

Islamabad last month announced it would expel over a million undocumented refugees, mostly Afghans, amid a row with Kabul over accusations that it harbours anti-Pakistan militants, and that many of the suicide bombings this year in Pakistan were carried out by Afghans, a charge Kabul denies.

Ahead of the start of the expulsions in October, Islamabad said 14 out of 24 suicide bombings this year in Pakistan were carried out by Afghans.

Nearly 400,000 Afghans have fled Pakistan since Oct. 1, according to the UNHCR refugee agency.

Pakistan is home to over 4 million Afghan migrants and refugees, about 1.7 million of whom are undocumented. Many arrived after the Taliban retook Afghanistan in 2021, and a large number have been present since the 1979 Soviet invasion.

The U.N. refugee agency has urged Pakistan to halt the deportations during the harsh winter season, as police continued to search homes and expel Afghans who have not already left.

The agency has said the Afghans’ return should be voluntary and that Pakistan should identify vulnerable individuals who need international protection.

Islamabad has thus far not entertained calls by international organisations and refugee agencies to reconsider its deportation plans.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court will take up a petition filed by rights activists on Dec. 1, seeking to halt the deportation.

(Additional reporting by Mohammed Yunus Yawar in Kabul; Editing by Alison Williams)