Omer Farooq Khan, TNN 26 September 2009, 02:15pm IST
PESHAWAR: Two car bomb explosions killed at least 14 people and injured scores of others in the troubled northwest of Pakistan on Saturday, clear indication that insurgents have still the power and strength to strike back. An explosive-laden car, outside the Askari commercial bank, a bank affiliated with the army in Peshawar’s cantonment area, went off in peak business hours killing at least nine people and wounding around 70, police officials said. The blast was so huge that it damaged the nearby buildings and blew up more than 20 cars in the area. Shafqat Malik, the head of Peshawar police’s bomb disposal squad, told media that the blast was carried out by a suicide car bomber. He said the car was packed with about 100 kg of explosives. Seconds before the bomb went off, the suicide attacker lobbed several grenades from the car in an apparent attempt to clear his way and get closer to his target, Malik said.
Earlier in Bannu, a town adjacent to North Waziristan tribal region, a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle outside a police station, killing 6 persons and wounding around 60. Among the 60 people injured were 29 policemen and 31 civilians. Dozens of nearby shops and buildings were destroyed. The attacks came after a period of relative quite from the Taliban. Taliban militants have suffered a series of setbacks, with some of their commanders being killed or captured in recent weeks. Militants have vowed to strike back after being ousted from the Swat, Buner and Dir regions in a major military offensive by the Pakistani army. Qari Hussain, a Taliban chief trainer of suicide bombers who is known as Ustad-i-Fidayeen claimed responsibility for the Bannu attack. “The government was taking undue advantage of our silence during the month of Ramadan. We will carry out more such attacks and these will be much more powerful than the earlier ones”, said Qari Hussain. “We have enough suicide bombers and they are asking me to let them sacrifice their lives in the name of Islam”, he added. The latest strikes came two days after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan said it was ready to stage more suicide attacks in the region after it was ousted from the Swat Valley in July by an army offensive. Bannu is gateway to North Waziristan, a volatile tribal region on the Afghan border and a major sanctuary for al-Qaida and Taliban militants fighting both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Twelve Afghan militants were killed in a missile strike by a US drone aircraft near the house of an Afghan Taliban commander allied to al-Qaida in North Waziristan late on Thursday night. Pakistani forces have also made significant gains against the militants after they launched an offensive in northwestern Swat valley in late April. The offensive in Swat valley led to an exodus of more than two million people.
Four die in Gilgit violence
Updated at: 1910 PST, Saturday, September 26, 2009
GILGIT: At least four people have lost their lives in violence in the wake of blast at a bookshop here, Geo News reported Saturday.
Police said two people including a police and a 13-year boy were killed in firing by unidentified people in Baseen area of Gilgit.
A low-intensity blast occurred at the bookshop this afternoon, which injured several people.