MIRAMSHAH: The Taliban said Tuesday they would continue to target Pakistani security forces with suicide attacks as they claimed responsibility for the latest blast that killed 19, its spokesman said.
“We are targeting Pakistani security forces because the government has allowed America to launch drone attacks on us,” Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Azam Tariq told AFP by telephone.
“Rather it is on the Pakistan government's behest that drone attacks target us,” he said.
“We will continue suicide attacks on security forces. Civilians should avoid proximity with them.”
Tariq claimed responsibility for Monday's suicide attack on a police station in northwestern Pakistan in which 19 people were killed.
Nine policemen and four schoolchildren were among those killed by the attack in Lakki Marwat in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, not far from tribal areas that are a stronghold of the Taliban.
“We carried out the Lakki Marwat suicide attack,” Tariq said, adding that the Taliban “regretted” the killing of schoolchildren in the attack.
“Our children are also killed in drone attacks,” he said.
The TTP frequently claims responsibility for attacks on Pakistani security forces but generally denies those that target civilians.
US forces have been waging a drone war against Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked commanders in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, where militants have carved out havens in mountains outside direct government control.
The US military does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, but its armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy pilotless drones in the region.
Washington has branded the rugged tribal area on the Afghan border — part of which has now been hit by Pakistan's catastrophic flooding — a global headquarters of al-Qaeda.