Suicide bomber kills 19 outside Peshawar courthouse


A suicide bomber has killed 19 Pakistanis and wounded 50 more in an attack outside the Peshawar judicial complex. The strike is the latest in the Taliban's suicide campaign that has recently zeroed in on the provincial capital.

The suicide bomber detonated outside the main gate of the complex, which contains the provincial criminal and civil courts and administration buildings.

"The bomber was on foot and tried to get into the Judicial Complex through its main entry gate," an official told Dawn. "He blew himself up, when he was stopped."

Police reportedly had intelligence that the complex was to be targeted by the Taliban.

Peshawar has become the eye of the storm for the Taliban's terror counteroffensive against the Pakistani state. Ten of the 26 major attacks in Pakistan have taken place in or near the capital of the Northwest Frontier Province.

Suicide attacks have targeted the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, police stations and checkpoints, markets, and anti-Taliban leaders in Peshawar.

The Taliban have also attacked the Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, police centers in Lahore, UN offices in Islamabad, and police, military, and civilian targets throughout the northwest. Anti-Taliban tribal leaders who have raised militias have also become the target of attacks.

The Taliban launched the terror campaign on Oct. 5, two weeks before the military began the ground phase of the operation in South Waziristan. Major General Athar Abbas, the military's top spokesman, said the Taliban has been "defeated" in South Waziristan.


Major Taliban attacks in Pakistan since Oct. 5:

Nov. 19, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 19 people in an attack outside of the provincial judicial complex in Peshawar.

Nov. 16, 2009: A suicide bomber killed four people in an attack on a police station in Peshawar.

Nov. 15, 2009: The Taliban killed a tribal leader in Bajaur and targeted a mayor in Peshawar.

Nov. 13, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 10 people in an attack on a police checkpoint in Peshawar.

Nov. 13, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 10 people in an attack on the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency in Peshawar.

Nov. 13, 2009: A suicide bomber wounded 10 people in an attack on a police station in Bannu.

Nov. 10, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 24 people in a market in Charsadda.

Nov. 9, 2009: A suicide bomber killed four people during an attack at a police checkpoint outside Peshawar.

Nov. 8, 2009: A suicide bomber killed an anti-Taliban leader and 12 others in an attack at a market in the town of Matni near Peshawar.

Nov. 5, 2009: An Army brigadier and a soldier were wounded in an ambush in Islamabad.

Nov. 2, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed 34 Pakistanis and wounded scores more in an attack in Rawalpindi.

Nov. 2, 2009: A pair of suicide bombers killed one policeman and wounded 25 security officers and civilians after the pair detonated their vests at a security checkpoint.

Oct. 28, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed 119 Pakistanis and wounded hundreds more in an attack on a bazaar in Peshawar.

Oct. 27, 2009: A brigadier general who served as the director of defense services guards at the Army General Headquarters escaped an assassination attempt in Islamabad.

Oct. 23, 2009: The Taliban detonated an anti-tank mine and hit a bus transporting a wedding party in Mohmand. The explosion killed 15 of the passengers and wounded six more.

Oct. 23, 2009: The Taliban detonated a car bomb outside a popular restaurant in the residential Hayatabad area in Peshawar. The attack wounded 13 civilians; nine are said to be in critical condition.

Oct. 23, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed seven people during an attack at a security checkpoint near the Kamra Air Weapon Complex in the district of Attock in Punjab province.

Oct. 21, 2009: The Taliban assassinated a brigadier general and his driver during an ambush in Islamabad.

Oct. 20, 2009: A pair of suicide bombers detonated their vests at Islamabad's International Islamic University, killing five.

Oct. 16, 2009: A pair of suicide bombers, including a female, attacked a police station and a building housing an intelligence service in Peshawar, killing 11.

Oct. 15, 2009: Terrorist assault teams attacked the Federal Investigation Agency building, the Manawan police training center, and the Elite Force Headquarters in Lahore. Twenty-six people, including nine terrorists and 12 policemen, were killed.

Oct. 15, 2009: A suicide bomber rammed a car into a police station in Kohat, killing 11 people, including policemen and children.

Oct. 12, 2009: A suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives as a military convoy passed through a checkpoint in a market in Alpuri in Shangla. The attack killed 41 people, including six security personnel.

Oct. 10, 2009: An assault team attacked the Army General Headquarters and took 42 security personnel captive. Eleven soldiers were killed, including a brigadier general and a lieutenant colonel, along with nine members of the assault team; and 39 hostages were freed.

Oct. 9, 2009: A suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives in a bazaar in Peshawar, killing 49 civilians.

Oct. 5, 2009: A suicide bomber entered the World Food Program office in Islamabad and detonated his vest, killing five UN workers, including an Iraqi.



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READER COMMENTS: "Suicide bomber kills 19 outside Peshawar courthouse"

Posted by ArneFufkin at November 19, 2009 10:38 AM ET:

We shouldn't jump to conclusions until we hear definitive word from President Zadari and General Kayani whether this latest murderous assault was waged by the Good Taliban or Bad Taliban. I don't know what it is with me: I have always had trouble telling the good Taliban from the bad.

Posted by Spooky at November 19, 2009 2:42 PM ET:

I have trouble seeing how the hell is Peshawar still standing...

Also, is it just me or is the focus on Peshawar there to keep the Pak military's attention away from the quieter but more dangerous threat in the southern regions of the Punjab? Or worse, Karachi?

I mean, the people of Pakistan are already jaded by and used to the attacks and have gone back to calling for Zardari's ouster by the end of the year, so I could see this go very badly for the military if they get blindsided...which happens more than one would like...

Posted by Zeissa at November 19, 2009 11:34 PM ET:

- basically the reason Pakistan is lifting a thumb now to do the job.

Posted by Zeissa at November 19, 2009 11:38 PM ET:

Spooky, a hundred dead people is horrible, but of course life goes on in Peshawar. Most of the Pakistanis can't just stop working for a few months.
And as horrible as a hundred dead people is Pakistan's reaction to suicide bombing is somewhat similar to India's, it doesn't kill enough people to paralyze a big city.
If the Taliban wants ground control it needs foot soldiers, not suicide shock troopers (not that one can deign the title 'shock troopers' for suicide bombers).

Posted by naresh at November 20, 2009 1:59 AM ET:

Pakistanis are brought up to believe that their army will be 'ghazwa e hind' - the Islamic conquerors of India.
They combine Islamic myth with Pakistan. They see Pakistan as post hizra Medina, India as pre-Islamic Mecca and Israel as Khyber (a city of Jews in Muhammad's time that muslims destroyed). Drawing analogy from this Islamic mythology, they want to destroy India and Israel. Their eventual goal is to establish an Islamic Caliphate with Pakistan as a center. They want NATO to leave Afghanistan so that they can use Haqqanis and Hekmatyar to establish proxy rule in Afghanistan. There is just one problem - Pakistan is faced with a long civil war. In this 'muslim v muslim' civil war, both sides call each other takfiris and kill each other. And after they kill each other, they blame RAW, Mossad and CIA.

Posted by Viliger at November 21, 2009 5:54 AM ET:

naresh, good summary.

" In this 'muslim v muslim' civil war, both sides call each other takfiris and kill each other. And after they kill each other, they blame RAW, Mossad and CIA."

Is this our 'saving grace' that its muslims killing each other? Imagine if they united and then pursued their objective!

As for the suicide attacks, the Taliban/AQ strategy is to discredit the State and Army by showing them up as unable to maintain law and order, very simply!

By default the victims (ie society) cave in and say 'well there is no other choice so lets give the Taliban a chance...keep one's head under the parapet and hopefully you're not brutally hung. In the meantime random bombings will stop since they are in charge.'

You see PAKISTAN HAS A FUNDAMENTAL LEADERSHIP PROBLEM/CRISIS. They have been unable to produce charismatic, clean, credible,cerebral leaders. They have excelled at producing violent leaders who only know how to lead by the gun, whether its the rag-tag militants or the Army. And of course cheats. Leaders don't grow on trees even though in Pakistan many aspiring ones will be hung there. So their stock comprise essentially of violent and corrupt individuals on both sides of their civil war.Of course its reflective of what their culture has become.

Even today one has some glimpses of Obama's wavering/emerging strategy on Afghanistan. BUT I HAVEN'T THE FOGGIEST CLUE OF WHAT HIS STRATEGY IS IN PAKISTAN! No doubt some informed readers will share their understanding.


Posted by eric at November 24, 2009 2:23 PM ET:

I just dont understand one point:
They say it is against the Islam to commit suicide or to kill yourself to get rid of the problems BUT- Who are all these suicide bombers calling them selves Muslim and killing other Muslims??