Two successive suicide bomb blasts hit the central Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi, killing at least 24 and wounding more than 60 early Sept. 4. The first bomber detonated his exposives on a bus carrying government workers. Minutes later, a motorcycle bomb exploded in a nearby market. “Today’s attack was in the heart of the high security zone,” said Ijaz-ul Haq, religious affairs minister. “This cannot be allowed to go on and measures have to be taken to ensure political stability.” Brigadier Javed Cheema, interior ministry spokesman, said “both suicide blasts are interlinked and acts of the same network” with “tentacles” extending from Pakistan’s tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan. (AlJazeera, Sept. 4)
The attacks came the day after Pakistan government released at least 100 members of the Masood tribes arrested by the army in the Wana-Tank Sharah region of South Waziristan in the wake of the abduction of 150 security personnel by local militants. Authorities said the tribesmen were released on a request of the Grand Tribal Jirga or tribal assembly as a goodwill gesture.
The security personnel were kidnapped by local militants late last week when they were proceeding towards Ladda from Wana in a convoy. The commander of the militant group Wana Baitullah Mashood claims that the number of security personnel kidnapped was around 300. (Hindustan Times, Sept. 4)
See our last post on Pakistan.
Pakistan: looks like civil war to us
A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a mess hall at a high-security base at Tarbela Ghazi, just 50 miles northwest of Islamabad, used by Pakistan’s elite counter-terrorist Special Services Group, or “Karar” force, killing at least 15 soldiers Sept. 13. The Karar force took part in the July raid on Islamabad’s Red Mosque that left more than 100 dead. The attack came hours after visiting US Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte met in Islamabad with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. (AlJazeera, Sept. 13)
The army reports, meanwhile, that it killed up to 50 militants in a battle in the South Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border. (AP, Sept. 13) Six soldiers are missing, two killed and eight wounded after battles with Islamic militants in the border region. The army said helicopter gunships and artillery pounded militant positions in South Waziristan, killing up to 40 militants. The rest were killed a few miles away in North Waziristan when troops fought off militants who attacked a paramilitary checkpost, and then targeted insurgent hideouts in response. (AFP, Sept. 13)