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Anatomy of a suicide bombing: investigating the Moon Market attack in Lahore, Pakistan

A new report by UK-based charity Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) shows the wide-ranging and long-lasting harm caused by a suicide bomb attack on a market.

Anatomy of a Suicide Bombing looks at what followed the attack on the Moon Market in Lahore in December 2009. At least 60 people were killed in the bombing and over a hundred more were wounded. Nearly four years later AOAV spoke to victims, their families, hospital workers, traders, police and government officials to uncover the full impact.

As well as direct casualties many more people suffered emotionally, financially and psychologically.

One victim lost their job in the hospitality industry because they found their temper had changed completely after the bombing. The president of the market traders’ union said he will not let his family visit him at work because he fears for their safety. One young victim had to abandon his studies because he had to spend so much time receiving treatment for his injuries.

These tragic stories have been repeated every time a car bomb or explosive vest is detonated in Pakistan.

The full report can be read here.


  • The psychological scars left by this deeply traumatic event were largely untreated. Only 6% of victims AOAV met with received any kind of psychological support or treatment after the blast.
  • There were inconsistencies in the way compensation was awarded with some victims receiving additional money from the government.
  • 74% of people AOAV spoke to who were injured or lost family members believed they were now worse off financially.
  • Business in the market had not recovered. Four years later traders believed they were making around half as much money as they did before the bombing.
  • Hospitals in Lahore were instructed to offer free treatment to blast victims but were not provided with funds for the additional costs. Administrators were forced to cut funding for other services like outpatient units.

“The Moon Market bombing is just one example of the hundreds of such attacks seen in Pakistan over the last decade. To think that these impacts are being repeated on a near daily basis is horrifying. A lot can be done to tackle the harm of suicide bombings, but first we need to actually recognize that there’s a problem.’ said AOAV’s Director of Policy Iain Overton.

‘Attacks like the Moon Market bombing are increasingly treated as business as usual by the international media but this cannot be allowed to continue,’ said AOAV’s Senior Researcher Henry Dodd. ‘The humanitarian costs of these bombings need to be better understood and the support offered to victims greatly improved so that it actually meets their needs.’

AOAV Anatomy of a Suicide Bombing



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