Attorney General Merrick Garland named a special counsel to investigate how classified documents ended up at President Biden’s private office and home.
Another special counsel is considering whether to charge former President Trump with mishandling of sensitive files. But the cases are markedly different.
A suicide bomber’s blast ended more than 100 lives in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, devastating a mosque in a supposedly secure sector of the city, and sending smoke plumes into the sky and panic through the streets.
But more than that: The attack on Monday knocked a terrorism-scarred city back in time, to the era a decade ago when Peshawar became synonymous with the wreckage of a militant campaign that profoundly changed a nation.
In the years after 2015, when Pakistani Taliban fighters and other militants were mostly pushed out of the region — many into neighboring Afghanistan — Peshawar residents dared to hope that the days of random terrorist attacks were behind them.
But on Tuesday, as emergency responders pulled body after body from the rubble, questions immediately intensified about the government’s ability to fight a new wave of militancy amid a seemingly intractable economic and political crisis.
The bombing was one of the bloodiest suicide attacks to hit Pakistan in years, killing at least 101 people and wounding 217 others, hospital officials said. Many of the casualties were police officers and government employees who had gone to pray at the mosque, in a heavily guarded neighborhood near several important government and military buildings.
The attack has added to recent evidence that the Pakistani Taliban, a faction of which claimed responsibility, is regaining strength from safe havens in Afghanistan under that country’s new government.
“The scale of this attack, that it targeted policemen at a mosque in a secure part of Peshawar — this really brings about a sense of déjà vu, a vivid reminder of the insecurity and violence that engulfed Pakistan a decade ago,” said Madiha Afzal, a fellow at the Brookings Institution.
In Peshawar, the memory of those days is visceral — and the sense of loss from the attack is profound. As dusk fell on Tuesday, and the shaken city gathered to bury rows and rows of coffins, many were wondering: Have the days of blood and horror returned? And if they have, where will the country go from here?
But so far, that bet has not paid off. The Afghan Taliban has refused to lean on the T.T.P., analysts say, instead insisting Pakistan address its grievances. The Afghan Taliban hosted negotiations in Kabul last year but the mediation proved fruitless — and relations between Afghan and Pakistani authorities have become strained.
And in the midst of those talks, the Pakistani Taliban were able to regroup, analysts say. In Swat, a picturesque northern valley that the T.T.P. once effectively controlled, residents watched last August as militants flooded back — bringing terror with them, they said.
Wealthy businessmen, elected representatives and doctors began receiving anonymous calls, made from Afghanistan and within Pakistan, demanding they either pay hefty extortion sums or move to other cities. The surge in extortion and threats of violence prompted thousands of protesters to flood the streets of Swat in October, demanding the government keep the peace.
“People are living in an atmosphere of panic and uncertainty in the valley because of the resurgence of Taliban violence,” said Majid Ali, 26, a university student who attended several protests. “But the people will not allow anyone to destroy peace in the name of the Taliban in the region.”
The attack in Peshawar comes at a time of immense economic and political upheaval that critics say has consumed Pakistan’s leaders and drawn attention away from security threats, including the T.T.P. and the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, which has also stepped up its attacks.