PESHAWAR: The apparent use of a woman for carrying out suicide blast in Bajaur Agency on Saturday is a change of tactics and would turn into a dangerous trend if the militant outfits have more female would-be bombers, security analysts fear.
Militant outfits in Bajaur and banned Tehrik Taliban Pakistan sometimes back have warned through FM radio and in conversations with journalists that they had trained squads of female bombers that could be sent on mission any time.
Over 250 suicide attacks have so far been carried out in Pakistan since 2006, but for the first time woman bomber was used in Bajaur. The first suicide attack occurred at Ashura procession in Hangu in 2006, killing 22 people.
In December 2007, although a woman, believed to be a bomber, was killed in an explosion near a security barrier in Peshawar, yet intelligence reports confirmed that the said woman was only carrying explosives and the device was triggered by someone else.
Defence analyst and former secretary security Fata Brig Mahmood Shah said that he was not sure that a woman bomber had carried out attack in Khar. It might be misperception of the eyewitnesses, who believed that they heard a woman’s cry, he said.
“If females are used in suicide attacks then it can be more dangerous,” he said. He added that militants had been using teenagers in suicide attacks and he did not believe that they would engage women also.
Some Militant groups in Middle East and Liberation of Tamil Tiger Elam (LTTE), a separatist organisation in Sri Lanka, had used females in suicide missions. But such trend was not seen in Pakistan so far.
Sources said that Taliban leaders Maulana Faqir Mohammad and Maulvi Mohammad Omar had warned time and again that they had women, who were willing to blow themselves up.
“Maulana Faqir was making announcements on FM radio warning of involving female in suicide missions,” said a resident of Bajaur. He said that local authorities had received intelligence reports that militants might carry out attack in the area.
Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq, who claimed responsibility for the attack in Bajaur, though did not verify involvement of female suicide bomber, yet he claimed that they had dozens of trained women, who were ready to lay down their lives.
Injured persons brought to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar mostly believed that they had heard screaming of a female following which the blast occurred. They added that they were sure that the attacker was a female clad in the traditional shuttlecock burqa.
An inhabitant of Bajaur told Dawn that any use of female for conducting such blasts in future would complicate the situation for the security agencies as the traditional burqa was all enveloping and in that costume it would be difficult to differentiate between a bomber and ordinary woman.