The Latest: Pakistan says Afghans failing to take action
The Latest: Pakistan says Afghans failing to take action
Feb. 17, 2017
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Latest on the aftermath of the massive attack by the Islamic State group at a Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan that killed 88 worshippers (all times local):
Pakistan's highest ranking foreign ministry official says neighbor Afghanistan has ignored repeated demands to take action against militants targeting Pakistan from sanctuaries on its soil following a horrific attack on a shrine that killed dozens.
The Islamic State took responsibility and on Friday and Sartaj Aziz called Afghanistan's National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar to complain of inaction against Pakistani insurgents operating on its territory.
Meanwhile, Pakistan says its paramilitary Frontier Corps came under fire by militants in Afghanistan and they retaliated with heavy artillery fire. Afghan officials say the artillery barrage wounded two children and forced scores of families to flee their homes.
The death toll has been climbing steadily since the attack and on Friday health ministry officials said it stood at 88 with another 343 wounded in Thursday's suicide assault.
Pakistani police have fired tear gas and swung batons to disperse a rally of several hundred protesters in the town where an Islamic State suicide bomber killed 80 worshippers at a Sufi shrine the day before.
The angry protesters in the town of Sehwan demanded justice for the victims and better security measures from the government. The crowd set fire to a car before the police dispersed the rally on Friday.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited some of the victims from the shrine bombing in a hospital in the nearby city of Nawab Shah. Pakistani TV footage showed Sharif touring the hospital and talking with some of the wounded.
Sharif was accompanied by army chief Gen. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. The two were later flown by helicopters to Sehwan.
A senior Pakistani government official says the death toll from a massive Islamic State suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine in the country's south the previous day has risen to 80.
The police commissioner in Hyderabad, the largest city closest to the town of Sehwan where the shrine was attacked, says a total of 250 people were wounded in the explosion.
Qazi Shahid Pervez said on Friday that local hospitals were overwhelmed and that several of the critically wounded were taken to Karachi, Pakistan's largest city on the Arabian Sea coast. He says military aircraft assisted in the evacuation of the wounded.
The Sehwan shrine, which reveres Muslim Sufi mystic, is frequented by the faithful of many sects of Islam but the majority of the worshippers are usually Shiite Muslims. The Islamic State group reviles Shiites as heretics.
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the horrific attack on a shrine in southern Pakistan that killed 75 people the previous day.
Ghani says his security forces are battling all terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the attack at the Sufi shrine in the town of Sehwan in Sindh province.
The shrine honored the mystic Muslim Sufi holy figure Usman Marwandi, also known as Lal Shahbaz Qalander.
Ghani's statement on Friday says that militant groups always seek to "target civilians in Afghanistan and other parts of the world."
Ghani says that "Sufis always preach peace and brotherhood among people." But, he added, "terrorists once again proved that they have no respect for Islamic values."
Pakistan blames the attack on militants who found sanctuary in neighboring Afghanistan and has given Kabul a list of 76 terror suspects it believes are hiding there.
An Afghan police official says Pakistan has launched a blistering artillery assault on eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, where a self-declared affiliate of the Islamic State group is based.
Gul Agha Roohani, provincial police chief of Nangarhar, tells The Associated Press in Kabul that Pakistan fired several artillery rounds early on Friday into the province's Lalpur district, near the Afghan-Pakistan border.
There was no immediate comment from Pakistan, where a suicide bombing on Thursday killed 75 people and wounded scores more at a Sufi shrine in southern Sindh province.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.
However, Pakistan says Thursday's attack and other recent bombings have been masterminded by militants who hide across the border and use sanctuaries in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani military says it has handed over to Kabul a list of 76 suspected "terrorists" hiding in neighboring Afghanistan, demanding an immediate action by Afghan authorities and the suspects' extradition to Islamabad.
A statement from the military says the list was given to Afghan officials at the Pakistani army's sprawling headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Friday.
The military did not specify who was on the list, but it has long claimed that the head of Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, and other militants are hiding on Afghan soil with the purpose to foment violence inside Pakistan.
The move came a day after a suicide bombing by the Islamic State group killed 75 worshippers at a Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan.
Afghanistan and Pakistan often accuse each other of harboring militants who operate across the porous border between the two countries.
Pakistani officials say security forces have killed at least 39 suspected militants in countrywide operations following a suicide attack at a famed Sufi shrine in the country's south.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group which said it targeted a Shiite gathering.
Three security officials say the overnight raids also led to the arrest of 47 suspects, including some in Sindh province where the attack on the shrine happened the previous day.
They say the raids targeted militant hideouts and led to shootouts with insurgents. Across Pakistan, at least 39 suspected militants were killed.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity on Friday because they were not authorized to talk to reporters about the security operations.
Pakistani security forces have arrested dozens of suspects in sweeping raids a day after a massive bombing claimed by the Islamic State group killed 75 worshippers at a famed Sufi shrine in a southern province.
The terror attack — the country's deadliest in years — stunned the nation and raised questions about the authorities' ability to rein in militant groups despite several military offensives targeting insurgents.
A suicide bomber walked into the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, in southern Sindh province, and detonated his explosives among a crowd of worshippers on Thursday, killing 75. Scores were also wounded in the explosion.
Security officials said Friday's raids led to the arrest of 47 suspects, including some in Sindh province. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.