Taliban attack mosque kills 25 in Pakistan


Map of the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. Hangu is the latest district to fall under Taliban control. The government signed peace agreements in the red agencies/ districts; purple districts are under de facto Taliban control; yellow regions are under Taliban influence.

The Taliban attacked a mosque filled with Ramadan worshippers in northwestern Pakistan, killing 25 and wounding more than 50. The attack came just one month after local tribes began to organize against the extremist group.

The attack occurred right on the Afghan border in the village of Banai in the district of Dir in the Northwest Frontier Province. The attackers threw three hand grenades into a mosque packed with worshippers for Ramadan. Immediately after the explosions, Taliban fighters raked the survivors with gunfire. The majority of those killed and wounded are children, Daily Times reported. The death toll is expected to rise as many of those wounded are in critical condition.

The Taliban have struck inside mosques in Pakistan in the past. The most prominent attack occurred in the district of Charsadda in December 2007, when a suicide bomber detonated in a mosque in an attempt to kill former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao as he conducted Eid prayers. More than 50 were killed and scores were wounded.

The Taliban have not officially taken credit for the attack, but it was likely launched in an attempt to cower the local population. The Dir attack occurred less than one month after local tribesmen gathered to oppose the presence of the Taliban in the region.

On Aug. 15, a tribal jirga, or council, requested the Taliban and "more than 150 foreign fighters" vacate the same region where today's attack occurred. The tribes threatened to raise a lashkar, or tribal army, to eject the Taliban if they refused.

Some tribes in the districts of Buner and Swat and the tribal agency of Bajaur have made similar demands of the Taliban. In Buner and Swat, tribes have raised the militias and fought the Taliban, with moderate success.

But the Taliban have reacted violently to such efforts in the past. The Taliban ruthlessly crushed local opposition in Khyber, Aurakzai, and Mohmand this year. Tribal leaders and their families are executed or tortured once the tribal armies disband, leaving a leadership vacuum.

The Pakistani government and security forces have provided little or no support to individual tribes that challenge the rise of the Taliban. And in some cases, the local tribes do not want the military's help. Last month's jirga in Dir also insisted the Army stay out of the region, as the tribes said they could defend their own territory.

The Taliban have expanded outwards from the tribal areas into the greater Northwest Frontier Province. The Musharraf government cut multiple peace deals with the Taliban starting in 2006. These agreements gave the Taliban and al Qaeda the time and spaced needed to consolidate power in the tribal areas and prey upon the settled districts. The government of Prime Minister Gilani continued to strike deals with the Taliban after taking power in 2008.



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READER COMMENTS: "Taliban attack mosque kills 25 in Pakistan"

Posted by DON JUICE at September 11, 2008 12:04 AM ET:

WE CAN USE THIS AS PROPAGANDA TO DECREASE THEIR SUPPORT AND I HOPE WE SEE A STRONG RESPONSE LIKE THE ONE FROM OUR CROSS BORDER RAID

Posted by C. Jordan at September 11, 2008 12:48 AM ET:

The pictures of this bombing should be used. Why not?

The Taliban are showing pictures of attacks on them.

The horror these criminals spread should be shown to the world, so they can be seen for what they are.
I agree: "WE CAN USE THIS AS PROPAGANDA TO DECREASE THEIR SUPPORT"

Posted by Euro 2.0 at September 11, 2008 2:34 AM ET:

Is there a second source for this story besides Daily Times?

Posted by Raj Kumar at September 11, 2008 5:41 AM ET:

This attack is an example of the islamic civil war between the Shia's & Sunni's.

Please remember that AQ regard Shia's as apostate and almost the same as us kafirs.

Posted by Chris at September 11, 2008 6:49 AM ET:

If we were to attack a mosque in Iraq or Afghanistan, CNN would be in our face over it. The Taliban does it and it's like page 6 of the Daily Times.

We need to get the message out about the enemy we are fighting. These cats are terrorists and murderers. Period.

Posted by Alex at September 11, 2008 9:10 AM ET:

Wait a minute..."The attack came just one month after local tribes began to organize against the extremist group."

???

NWFP Awakening? What's going on?

Posted by David M at September 11, 2008 10:38 AM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/11/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Posted by C. Jordan at September 11, 2008 10:50 AM ET:

Alex: "NWFP Awakening? What's going on?"

I had the same thought, but dismissed it as being overly optimistic.

Bill, Is there ANY chance of a NWFP Awakening?

Posted by GM Earnest at September 11, 2008 2:49 PM ET:

If a big part of this war is on the propaganda front, then these unbelievable acts of genocide should be front page news in every major media outlet in the world.

Thanks LWJ for keeping these events out there. I believe an Anbar Awakening is coming for all of Islam, but until that time comes we will probably continue to witness more of these horrors.

If there is some AQ believer reading this, I would like to know how this is justified.

Posted by JusCruzn at September 12, 2008 11:57 AM ET:

Ditto what Raj said about the civil war between sunni/shia. I have often used this example with Islam. There are many different religions in this world, having many different subsects within them. In GENERAL most of these subsects get along pretty well. When you take Islam into account however this is not the case. If the people of Islamic faith cannot get along with each other how can they ever get along with the rest of the world?

Posted by j.pickens at September 12, 2008 11:28 PM ET:

Well, looks like some tribal elders may be providing some more GPS coordinates to the evil Americans.
Nothing helps get Taliban target info like incidents such as this.
Drop a dime on the bastards who hand-grenaded your mosque.

Posted by juscruzn at September 13, 2008 8:14 AM ET:

If the tribal elders want to give us the GPS info we can certainly pay them back for that info. A visit to the T-ban or AQ from Pred Ex would probably make sure the mosque bombers are taken care of. Thanks to those tribal elders, and GOOD WORK TROOPS KEEP KILLING HIRABI'S!!!

Posted by Rhyno327/lrsd at September 16, 2008 10:10 AM ET:

This is wat ALLAH wants people to do? Kill fellow moslems along with non-moslems? They are a psychotic bunch that needs to exterminated like vermin. Wow, wat a "great" victory....