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Pakistan: Taliban Targets Secular Parties - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A French soldier of the Serval operation in Mali stands in front of a Harfang drone on April 26, 2013 on the French army base of Niamey. (AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU)

A French soldier of the Serval operation in Mali stands in front of a Harfang drone on April 26, 2013 on the French army base of Niamey. (AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU)

Islamabad, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Taliban in Pakistan has vowed to continue targeting the electoral campaigns and leaders of secular political parties that were part of the previous coalition government. Pakistan’s cities have suffered a series of successive attacks, and political parties such as the Pakistan People’s Party (a former ruling party), the United National Movement, and the Awami National Party have had their election campaigns targeted in Karachi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The resumption of attacks against secular political parties indicates that the movement’s Shura Council has decided to pursue the tactic of targeting election campaigns and party leaders. Such attacks are aimed at parties that formed the previous coalition government, and come after their involvement in operations in Swat Valley, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and other regions such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In a statement distributed to the media on Sunday, April 28, a Taliban spokesman said that “the [Taliban] movement follows the commands of the Taliban Shura Council of Guidance…. The Council is to decide which political parties will be targeted, by determining the time and place [of attack].”

The spokesman added that “we oppose the secular and democratic system, which defies the Islamic faith.” Two people were killed and another eight injured after a bomb was detonated at an election office in the Maqsoodabad area of the Peshawar region.