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Suicide bomber targets chief of Pakistani Pashtun political party


Charsada-bombing-10022008.jpg

Aftermath of the assassination attempt in Charsadda. Photo from Geo TV.

A suicide bomber killed five Pakistanis during an assassination attempt on the leader a secular Pashtun political party. The bomber targeted Asfandyar Wali Khan, the chief of the Awami National Party, in his home in the settled district of Charsadda in the turbulent Northwest Frontier Province.

The attack occurred as Khan was hosting celebrations in a guesthouse next to his home for Eid-ul-Fitr, the holiday at the end of Ramadan. The suicide bomber was shot by security guards as he attempted to reach Khan.

"The suicide bomber tried to pass from the security scanner avoiding a physical search. Two security guards grabbed him but he tried to get away," Provincial police chief Malik Naveed told Geo TV. "Then he was shot and as soon as he fell on the ground he blew himself up."

The Awami National Party is an ethnic Pashtun political party that controls the government Northwest Frontier Province after the February 2008 election. The party is opposed to military action against the Taliban and advocates a peaceful end to the fighting in Pakistan's northwest. The party has backed peace agreements with the Taliban in the past.

The Awami National Party has been the target of multiple Taliban attacks over the past year. The Taliban conducted two major strikes against ANP offices in North Waziristan and Kurram the week before the election, killing and wounding scores of its members.

The Taliban have conducted attacks during religious events and in mosques up and down the Northwest Frontier Province over the past year. The most high-profile attack occurred on Dec. 28, 2007, in Charsadda, 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.

Recently, the Taliban bombed a mosque in Dir, killing 25 and wounding more than 50. The Taliban targeted a tribe that was organizing local security to eject the extremists from the region.



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READER COMMENTS: "Suicide bomber targets chief of Pakistani Pashtun political party"

Posted by Rational Inquirer at October 2, 2008 2:39 PM ET:

It would seem that when the militants really want to kill somebody, they use a suicide bomber, as in the death of the Ahmad Shah Massoud, "Lion of Panjshir" in September 2001, and in this most recent attempt. This contrasts markedly with the "assassination lite" attempt on Gilani's motorcade (when he wasn't even in it) last month. Was the latter really just a play by the militants to make it seem as if Gilani WASN'T on their side???

Posted by Noocyte at October 2, 2008 2:55 PM ET:

This does nothing but to shape the battlespace for the COIN ops to come. The more AQ and their Taliban attack dogs slaughter and alienate peaceable Pashtuns, the more ripe the population becomes for "Awakening-" style movements which a skillful counterinsurgent can bring in out of the cold.

My heart goes out to all the innocents who will pay the fare for that trip, though.

Posted by Max at October 2, 2008 4:18 PM ET:

AQ and the Taliban seem to have equal wrath for both friends and enemies.

You would think that they would be helping this party that has opposed attacks on the Taliban in the past rather than attacking them with suicide bombers. If I were an insurgent, I would want as many friends as possible, but I guess the Taliban and AQ don't care.

That's good for those who oppose them, and gives us a wedge that can be driven between them and those sitting on the fence, just like in Iraq.

Posted by C. Jordan at October 2, 2008 5:39 PM ET:

These criminals are showing that their perceived strength of violence, is in fact their biggest weakness.

This is all they have to offer.
These attacks are the only political leverage they have.

Posted by Kidartbai at October 2, 2008 5:49 PM ET:

ANP is not a friend of Taliban. Anyone who knows their history would agree with me (Bacha Khan/Frontier Ghandi, Khudai Khidmatgar etc.). Trying to lump them as friends of Taliban because they believe in Pukhtunwali concept of jarga is more than a little ignorant.

Posted by Bill Roggio at October 2, 2008 6:36 PM ET:

Kidartbai,

No one here claimed the ANP is a friend of the Taliban. If you want to continue to be welcomed here, you're going to need to stop the insults, particularly straw-man insults.

Posted by David M at October 3, 2008 9:46 AM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 10/03/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Posted by Kidartbai at October 3, 2008 5:53 PM ET:

Bill, that was the insinuation by Max. No insults or straw mans here.

Posted by Bill Roggio at October 3, 2008 6:14 PM ET:

I suggest you re-read his posting. Max insinuated nothing. He said the Taliban is stupid for not trying to befriend the ANP, as the ANP's policies help the Taliban thrive and the Taliban can use all of the allies they can get.