There was a suicide bombing today in Quetta.
Five suspects, including three women and two children, were approaching a check post in the residential area of Kharotabad when security forces discovered they had explosive materials. The forces tried to arrest the group, at which point, one of the females blew herself up to avoid arrest, reported Arzoo Rehman for Express 24/7…
The Frontier Corps (FC) said all the attackers, including three women and two men, were foreigners of either Chechen or Uzbek origin. The women were reportedly equipped with hand grenades.
Here’s the thing: it could have maybe been the work of the Shahidka, the Chechen “black widows” whose husbands were killed during the Russian ethnic cleansing of Chechnya a decade ago. But here’s the other thing: those black widows, originally organized by now-deceased Chechen militant Shamil Basayev, tend to target Russia, which is responsible for their widowhood, and not random police checkpoints in southwestern Pakistan. Despite the phantom Chechen woman suicide bomber-nurses of Kunduz, Shahidki just don’t really operate outside of Chechnya and Russia.
The suicide bomber could have been Uzbek women. There’s not enough data to say for certain, though if true it would be a novel development in Uzbek militancy in the FATA. But what is absolutely certain is that you really couldn’t confuse Chechen and Uzbek women. They are completely different ethnicities: one Caucasian (by definition!), the other Asiatic.
|A typical Chechen woman.||A typical Uzbek woman.|
Do you really think the Frontier Corps can’t tell these women apart? That’s actually a possibility. Which leaves us with two possibilities: the FC can’t tell non-Pakistanis apart, or they have no idea who really blew themselves up. Either way, we shouldn’t leap to conclusions about the identities of those women.
The issue of mis-identifying all foreigners you can’t recognize as “Chechen” is a sadly common feature of studying Afghanistan and Pakistan. Locals in both countries—and the reporters who gullibly repeat whatever they’re told—routinely identify anyone with vaguely light skin speaking a weird language as “Chechen.” But really, we have no idea if there are any Chechens and what they might be up to. Just unreliable stories, bad memories, and obvious misidentifications. It’s one of many reasons I just assume all stories about Chechens in Afghanistan and Pakistan are wrong.