Islamists deny Peshawar blast; conspiracy theories proliferate
The Pakistani media have quoted Taliban and al-Qaeda sources denying responsibility for the car bomb that ripped through a market in Peshawar Oct. 28, killing 105 people, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived on a visit to Pakistan. The same day saw a dawn attack in Kabul, in which six UN employees and three guards were killed in a gunfight that also left three assailants dead. Islamist denials of a hand in the attacks have sparked a frenzy of conspiracy-theorizing in the Pakistani press.
Pakistan's daily The News quoted an al-Qaeda statement denying responsibility for the Peshawar attack, in which most of those killed were women and children. The statement said that elements who want to defame the jihad were really behind the attack. The insurgent Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), in an e-mail sent to the media, also condemned the Peshawar blast and denied involvement. The Pakistani military remains engaged in a major offensive against the TTP in South Waziristan.
Responding to widespread claims that India's intelligence services were behind the Peshawar and Kabul attacks, The News ran an editorial insisting both attacks were homegrown, and planned "within a few miles" of where they were carried out.
"This was not some plot hatched and executed by mad Hindus or Sikhs, this is a plot that will have been hatched within a few miles of where the blast occurred, by men who believe that their piety and vision of a Muslim future world, wherein their own paradigm will rule supreme, is best achieved by shredding the bodies of their fellow Muslims," The News said in the editorial, headlined "Blitzed." (IANS, Oct. 29)