17 killed in Pakistan suicide bombings
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