A bomb blast killed at least seven—including women and children—Aug. 17 in the Pakistani town of Charsadda, NWFP. The bomb was hidden in a box of medicine given to the driver of the vehicle to deliver in a nearby village. It was a time device that went off when the driver stopped at a fuel station. Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the blast, saying the victims belonged to a tribe that had raised an anti-Taliban militia.
Days earlier, militants loyal to Baitullah Mehsud, the Taliban leader reportedly killed in a US airstrike, attacked a stronghold of a tribal warlord allied with the government, leaving as many as 90 fighters dead. The warlord, Turkestan Bhaitani, who supports the Taliban in Afghanistan, reportedly turned against Mehsud because he was focusing suicide attacks on targets in Pakistan. Bhaitani’s forces, which operate in the Tank district on the border with Mehsud’s stronghold of South Waziristan, had killed and kidnapped some of Mehsud’s fighters.
Police in southern Pakistan say that assassination of militant leader Ali Sher Haider sparked violent protests in at least three cities Aug. 17, including Karachi. Haider led the banned Sunni militant group, Sippah-e-Sahaba, which is blamed for deadly attacks against Pakistan’s minority Shi’ites. Pakistan imposed a ban on the group in 2002 and the US has declared it as a terrorist organization. (VOA, Aug. 16; NYT, Aug. 14)
See our last post on Pakistan.