17 killed in Pak­istan sui­cide bomb­ings

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

PE­SHAWAR: A sui­cide car bomber at­tacked an of­fice of Pak­istan’s main in­tel­li­gence agency in the north­west­ern city of Pe­shawar yes­ter­day, killing 10 peo­ple and wound­ing 60, of­fi­cials said.

The city, near the Afghan bor­der, has been tar­geted sev­eral times since the ar my be­gan an of­fen­sive against the Tal­iban in South Waziris­tan last month and mil­i­tants stepped up re­tal­ia­tory at­tacks.

A mil­i­tary spokesman said the bomber’s tar­get was the of­fice of the In­ter-Ser­vices In­tel­li­gence (ISI) agency and the bomber blew him­self up at a check­post out­side.

The at­tack came shortly be­fore US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Jim Jones be­gan meet­ings mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment leaders in Is­lam­abad.

The US says Pak­istani action against mil­i­tants in bor­der en­claves is vi­tal for its Afghan ef­fort.

The blast brought down the front of the three-storey build­ing and sent a thick col­umn of smoke bil­low­ing over the city.

A wounded sol­dier said the bomber was in a type of ve­hi­cle that usu­ally de­liv­ers med­i­cal sup­plies.

“All of a sud­den it ap­peared on the wrong side of the road and be­gan com­ing to­wards the of­fice,” said the sol­dier, Nasir.

“The guards opened fire but it came to the en­trance of the build­ing as the fir­ing went on and ex­ploded.”

The ISI has in the past sup­ported Is­lamists, beginning with guer­ril­las bat­tling Soviet oc­cu­piers in Afghanistan in the 1980s, but in re­cent years has be­come a tar­get of some fac­tions.

Shortly af­ter­wards, a sui­cide car bomber at­tacked a po­lice sta­tion near the town of Bannu, killing seven peo­ple in­clud­ing five po­lice­men.

Se­cu­rity is tight across the coun­try with nu­mer­ous checks on roads and it was not clear how the bomber was able to ap­proach the ISI of­fice.

Mil­i­tants who at­tacked ar my head­quar­ters in Rawalpindi last month were dressed in army uni­forms and trav­elled in a ve­hi­cle with mil­i­tary mark­ings.

The army went on the of­fen­sive in South Waziris­tan last month, aim­ing to root out Pak­istani Tal­iban mil­i­tants who stepped up their war on the se­cu­rity forces in 2007. – Reuters

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