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Friday, 9 October 2009

Peshawar Attack Kills 41, Second Within Two Weeks

AP has details of a fatal attack in Peshawar;

A suicide bomber detonated his vehicle near a crowded market in Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar on Friday, killing 41 people. The government responded by saying it had "no other option" but to launch an offensive in the militant stronghold of South Waziristan along the Afghan border.
The attack in the Khyber Bazaar area also wounded more than 100 people and demonstrated the ability of insurgents to strike in Pakistan's major cities despite ongoing operations pressuring their networks and the death of their leader in a U.S. missile strike.

There was another fatal attack in Peshawar barely two weeks ago. The new Taliban leader, Hakimullah, is flexing his muscles and these attacks prove that whichever Taliban chief gets killed, there are always others waiting to pick up his gun. Baitullah Mehsud's death was hailed as a propaganda coup, but the facts show that it made no difference to lives on the ground, whatever the US or the Pakistani authorities might say.

What is slightly puzzling is that the government response is to say that "it has no other option" but to launch an offensive in South Waziristan along the Afghan border. This operation has been in the planning for weeks and has involved the visible mobilisation of troops to the region. The AP report seems to indicate that the latest Peshawar attack is being used as a raison d'etre for the massive deployment of Pakistani troops into South Waziristan.

Al Jazeera made the following point;

"What is surprising everyone is that immediately after the attack the provincial information minister came out and said that he knew where the attack came from, and started saying that people should be united against the Taliban even though the Taliban have not claimed responsibility for this particular attack."

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