Taliban strike at mosque and tribal leaders' meeting in Pakistan's tribal areas
The Taliban targeted pro-government leaders in coordinated attacks today in Pakistan's troubled northwest, killing 25 people in three bombings and suicide attacks.
The largest strike took place at a mosque in the town of Wana in South Waziristan. In the explosion, 18 people were killed.
"Apparently it was a suicide attack and Maulana Noor Mohammed was the target," an intelligence official told Dawn.
Mohammed was among those killed in the attack. Mohammed served as a member of Pakistan's parliament and had served as a negotiator between the Taliban and the government in the past.
Over the past few years, the Taliban have shown no reservations about striking inside mosques and other religious sites [see list below]. There have been 23 major attacks on mosques and other Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007, according to information compiled by The Long War Journal.
One of the most brazen attacks took place on Dec. 4, 2009, when a suicide assault team stormed a mosque frequented by military officers in Rawalpindi. Two senior generals were among the 40 people killed.
The second blast today took place in the tribal agency of Kurram, where the Taliban have been battling the Shia minority and government forces. Seven tribal leaders were killed in a bombing at a meeting hosting tribal leaders.
The third attack today took place in the town of Matni, just outside Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber-Paktunkwa. A roadside bomb killed Israr Khan, the leader of a pro-government tribal militia, two of his bodyguards, and four other Pakistanis.
Today's coordinated attacks took place as Pakistan's government and military have struggled to cope with floods that have displaced more than 12 million Pakistanis and destroyed homes, businesses, and farmlands. The floods have given the Taliban a reprieve from Pakistani military offensives and allowed them to regroup and attack their enemies in the tribal areas and greater northwest. The Taliban have been ruthlessly attacking tribal meetings and killing senior pro-government leaders in an effort to break local resistance.
Major attacks at mosques, religious events, and Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007:
Aug. 23, 2010: A suicide bomber detonated at a mosque Wana, South Waziristan, killing 18 people.
July 1, 2010: Suicide bombers detonated at the Data Ganj Bakhsh shrine in Lahore, killing 41 people and wounding more than 170.
May 28, 2010: The Punjabi Taliban assaulted two Ahamadi mosques in Lahore, killing more than 70 people.
Dec. 18, 2009: A suicide bomber detonated inside a mosque frequented by policemen in Lower Dir, killing 12.
Dec. 4, 2009: A suicide assault team stormed a mosque in Rawalpindi that is frequented by Army officers, killing 40.
Oct. 20, 2009: A pair of suicide bombers detonated their vests at Islamabad's International Islamic University, killing five.
June 12, 2009: A suicide bomber killed five Pakistanis, including anti-Taliban cleric Dr. Sarfraz Naeemi, in an attack on a mosque in Lahore during Friday prayers.
June 12, 2009: A suicide bomber killed six worshipers and wounded more than 90 in an attack inside a mosque in Nowshera. The attack collapsed the dome of the mosque.
June 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 49 worshipers in an attack on a mosque in a remote village in Dir.
April 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 24 worshipers and wounded more than 100 in an attack outside a Shia religious center in the Chakwal district in Punjab province.
March 27, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 70 worshipers and wounded more than 125 in an attack at a mosque in the Khyber tribal agency.
March 5, 2009: An attacker threw a hand grenade into the middle of a mosque in Dera Ismail Khan, wounding 25 worshipers.
March 2, 2009: A suicide bomber killed six people during an attack at a gathering in a mosque in the Pishin district in Baluchistan.
Feb. 20, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 32 Pakistanis and wounded more than 85 in an attack on a funeral procession for a Shia elder who was murdered in Dera Ismail Khan.
Feb. 5, 2009: A suicide attack outside a mosque killed more than 30 Shia worshipers and wounded more than 50.
Nov. 22, 2008: A bombing at a mosque in Hangu killed five civilians and wounded seven.
Nov. 21, 2008: A suicide attack on a funeral procession in Dera Ismail Khan killed 10 mourners and wounded more than 25.
Sept. 10, 2008: The Taliban attacked a mosque filled with Ramadan worshipers in the district of Dir in northwestern Pakistan. More than 25 worshipers were killed and more than 50 were wounded.
Aug. 19, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 29 Shia mourners and wounded 35 after detonating in the emergency ward of a hospital.
June 17, 2008: Four Pakistanis were killed and three wounded in a bombing at a Shia mosque in Dera Ismail Khan.
May 19, 2008: Four Pakistanis were killed in a bombing outside a mosque in Bajaur.
Jan. 17, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 10 and wounded 25 in an attack on a Shia mosque in Peshawar.
Dec. 28, 2007: A suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a mosque in Charsadda in an attempt to kill former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao as he conducted Eid prayers. More than 50 were killed and more than 200 were wounded.