The toll of the terrorist attack in Pakistan on Tuesday is still uncertain: Some sources say there were five victims; others say seven. What is certain is that the three bombers from Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) — a faction of the Pakistani Taliban Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) that split off in 2014 — wanted a massacre but only partially succeeded.
The target, as in past attacks, was a courthouse in Charsadda, a district capital town about 30 kilometers from Peshawar, capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, near the border with Afghanistan.
According to preliminary reports, the three attackers approached the courthouse like ordinary citizens, but as soon as the agents apprehended the first militant, he launched a grenade. He was killed shortly after. The second militant suffered the same fate, shot dead at the entrance, while the third one managed to blow himself up. In total, the suicide bombers launched six grenades but were not able to score the massacre they must have intended had they been able to enter the courthouse, crowded with lawyers and civilians.
This was not the first terrorist attack in Charsadda. Another courthouse came under fire last March when another suicide bomber — also a militant of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which means “assembly of faith” — managed to blow himself up inside the courthouse. In January 2016, the Bacha Khan University at Charsadda as of a commando who caused panic among the 200 students of the university, dedicated to a noble Pashtun figure of pacifism (Bacha Khan, in fact, is also known as “the Frontier Gandhi”). In that attack, 22 people died. The attack was claimed by the Geedar Tariq Afridi, a faction of the TTP, but the TTP leadership denied later that it had given the green light to the massacre.