Opinion Brief

Pakistan's deadly suicide bombings: 'Revenge' for bin Laden?

The Pakistani Taliban claims responsibility for a pair of suicide bombings Friday that killed at least 80. Are these attacks really connected to bin Laden's death?

The video: At least 80 people have been killed, and dozens more injured, in back-to-back suicide bombings outside a paramilitary training center in northwest Pakistan on Friday, the first major terrorist strike since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden nearly two weeks ago. (See a news report about the attack below.)  "This was the first revenge for Osama’s martyrdom. Wait for bigger attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” says a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, which claimed responsibility, as quoted by AFP. But local police questioned the Pakistani Taliban's role, suggesting the attack "was most likely the work of a splinter group" that was retaliating after being targeted by the Pakistani military, says Jane Perlez in The New York Times.
The reaction:
This deadly attack "comes at an especially tense time in the relationship between" the U.S. and Pakistan, as Pakistani officials are bristling at suggestions "that elements of the nation's security service may have known of bin Laden's whereabouts," says PBS NewsHour. And the attack "tells you two things," says David Dayen at Firedoglake. "First, the Pakistani Taliban and their splinter factions probably don’t have the operational capacity to project terrorist attacks beyond regional borders." And second, these terror groups blame Pakistan for opposing them, and for working with the U.S. But don't assume this is all about bin Laden, says Rifaat Hussain, a security analyst at the Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, as quoted by the Christian Science Monitor. Militants may "have cloaked" the attack "as revenge" for bin Laden’s killing, but the bombings were really meant "to send a signal to the [Pakistani] government": If you "move against us because of international pressure, there will be a huge cost." Watch a video about the attacks:

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