PESHAWAR, Pakistan – A teen suicide bomber in a school uniform attacked soldiers during morning exercises at a Pakistani army training camp today, killing 27 troops and wounding 40 others, police said.
The attack in the northwest town of Mardan showed that despite years of army operations against their hideouts along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Taliban and al-Qaida-linked fighters retain the ability to strike back. It was one of the worst attacks on security forces in recent months.
Despite his apparent disguise, the bomber’s ability to get his explosives into the facility undetected signaled a failure on the part of the military. Such army areas are usually heavily guarded.
Troops quickly cordoned off the area, and even police had a difficult time getting through.
No particular militant group immediately claimed responsibility today, though the Pakistani Taliban have staged such attacks in the past.
The army has staged multiple offensives in Pakistan’s northwest aimed at taking out the Pakistani Taliban in recent years. Its efforts against the group, which is distinct from but linked to the Afghan Taliban, appear to have been largely successful – but violence persists.