At least 10 people were killed and another 20 wounded in a suicide bomb attack outside a prominent Muslim shrine in Lahore, Pakistan’s central city, on Wednesday.
Police officials said responsibility for the attack, which took place near the city’s Dataa Darbar shrine, was claimed by Hizbul Ahrar, an offshoot of Pakistan’s Taliban movement. The Pakistani Taliban is a distinctly separate group from the Afghan Taliban.
Pakistan’s army has successfully regained control of parts of the country along the border with Afghanistan previously taken over by the Pakistani Taliban. But analysts warned that Wednesday’s attack in Lahore suggested the Pakistani Taliban are still able to carry out occasional attacks.
“Its one of their [Pakistani Taliban] signature attacks,” said Amir Rana, head of the independent Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, adding that a “problematic development for Pakistan” has emerged from the smaller splinter groups created after the army successfully attacked the main Taliban strongholds.
“These smaller groups now have the temptation to join others like the Islamic State, which is trying to expand itself in our region,” Mr Rana said.
In the past year, Pakistan has supported US efforts to forge a new peace agreement in Afghanistan between the US backed government of President Ashraf Ghani and the Afghan Taliban.