21 killed in blast at police station in northwestern Pakistan


The Taliban have struck again in northwestern Pakistan, killing 21 people and wounding dozens more in a bombing at a police station today.

The attack took place at a police headquarters in the district of Kohat in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban. The massive blast leveled or damaged the police station and several nearby buildings and homes that housed families of policemen, according to SAMAA.

It is unclear if the blast was caused by a suicide bomber or via a remotely detonated bomb that was planted earlier. And although the Taliban have yet to claim credit for the attack, today's bombing is the fifth in the past week. The past four bombings have been claimed by the Taliban.

While claiming responsibility for the last attack, a suicide strike against a police station in Lakki Marwat that killed 19 people including nine policemen and two children, Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq vowed that more strikes would be forthcoming.

"We will continue suicide attacks on security forces," Tariq told AFP. "Civilians should avoid proximity with them."

Tariq said that the Taliban were striking security forces due to the US' continued use of unmanned Predator and Reaper strikes against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas. The US has carried out four such strikes, all in North Waziristan, this month, and 156 strikes in Pakistan since 2004.

"We are targeting Pakistani security forces because the government has allowed America to launch drone attacks on us," Tariq told AFP. "Rather it is on the Pakistan government's behest that drone attacks target us."

The Pakistani Taliban have been carrying out suicide and other conventional attacks against Pakistani security forces, the government, and civilians for years throughout Pakistan as part of the group's terror insurgency against the state.

Major terror attacks in Pakistan since Sept. 1:

Sept. 1, 2010: Suicide bombers launched a coordinated attack on a Shia procession in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province. More than 30 people were killed in the blasts.

Sept. 3, 2010: Suicide bombers killed more than 60 Shia protesters in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, and a guard outside an Ahmadi mosque in Mardan.

Sept. 6, 2010: A suicide bomber killed 19 people after ramming a car packed with explosives into a police station in Lakki Marwat.

Sept. 7, 2010: A blast at a police station in Kohat killed 21 people and wounded dozens more.



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READER COMMENTS: "21 killed in blast at police station in northwestern Pakistan"

Posted by ed at September 7, 2010 12:39 PM ET:

YOU WOULD THINK WITH THE FLOODS IN THE COUNTRY MILLIONS OF PAKISTANNI FACING STARVATION, DISEASE, DEATH FROM LACK OF SHELTER THE TALIBAN WOULD TAKE A BREAK.

INSTEAD THEY CONTINUE TO KILL THEIR OWN PEOPLE. BLOW UP SCHOOLS I AM SURE THEY ARE DISRUPTING RELIEF EFFORTS BY TAKING RESOURCES THAT COULD BE USED FOR FLOOD RELIEF INSTEAD WILL HAVE USED TO DEFEND AGAINST THE TALIBAN ATTACKS.

THEY ARE REALLY GOOD AT KILLING MOSLEMS.

Posted by Nic at September 7, 2010 12:46 PM ET:

Aren't attacks like this one supposed to be counterproductive for the Taliban because the attacks enrage the local population? Where is the local rage or revenge? BTW, now is an excellent time for a Taliban offensive because the Pak Army is busy with the flooding.

Posted by Charu at September 7, 2010 6:20 PM ET:

It ought to be counterproductive to the Taliban, but this is conspiratorial Pakistan that we are talking about. They would sooner believe that the Americans/Indian/Israelis are involved than fellow Muslims. Despite the countless sectarian massacres that have occurred in their country, and the brutalities perpetuated on Muslim women by the likes of the Taliban and their allies, what really stirs them to protest is the threat to burn the Koran by an obscure church in the US!

Posted by Spooky at September 7, 2010 9:58 PM ET:

Actually there is quite a bit of outrage if you went through the Pakistani media. As to what they can do about it, especially after these floods, that would be very little.

Posted by kp at September 8, 2010 12:20 AM ET:

The effect for the Taliban is twofold

1. They are attacking "security forces" which I'm sure are seen as outsiders by the Pashto locals. The civilians are collateral damage and don't seem to be counted for much.

2. They attack "heretics" that all of the population hate (the Amhadis). And the Shia that most of the population dislike.

So they get to undermine the authorities and cause confusion. Generating a power vacuum that they would love to step into.

They even get the confusion/ineffectiveness effect if they attack Shia, especially if the Shia riot afterwards (and perhaps kill a few Sunni).

If it's really true that this is related to the drone attacks i.e. the attacks are causing them pain and they want them stopped then they hope the Pakistanis will convince the Americans to stop. I think there's no chance of that happening and perhaps more chance of the Americans pointing out that the ball is with the Pakistani Army and flushing the remnants out of North Waziristan (and actually stopping them in already "held" areas) are what need not fewer air strikes. The other possibility is the Pakistanis want the US to concentrate on the orgs doing the bombins and provide more intel to target them.

I think the Taliban are hoping the confusion wins over the latter.

Posted by JT at September 8, 2010 12:31 AM ET:

"Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said the government is planning a Swat- and Malakand-like crackdown in Balochistan to crush elements involved in target killings and bomb blasts."

I wonder if this includes a serious effort at clearing Quetta of Taliban and AQ. That would certainly be news.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/lashkarijhangvi-blamed-for-quetta%2C-lahore-blasts-use-of-force-only-option-to-restore-order-in-balochistan%2C-says-malik-890

Posted by ramgun at September 8, 2010 2:05 AM ET:

The Pakistani policemen are digging their own grave - its really time they came clean on whether they are American puppets or the Taliban. Neither options seems particularly attractive, but this is the unenviable position Pakistan finds itself in today anyway

Posted by madashell59 at September 8, 2010 11:26 AM ET:

ramgun: What do you mean by American puppet? It sounds like you are saying the police are idiots for fighting the taliban. The mention of "puppet" indicates a mindless mass. And in context with "Taliban" indicates that if the police decided to be taliban then they are not mindless.
I am sure that I would be more free to use my mind under a democratic society than under taliban rule. So who is really the puppet? The police or the taliban?

Posted by Spooky at September 8, 2010 7:25 PM ET:

JT- I wish. The crackdown is against the Baloch nationalists exclusively. That actually means its likely the Taliban in that province will be met with to collaborate (The Taliban and the Baloch HATE each other).

Posted by Lisa at September 11, 2010 8:10 PM ET:

I am a member of a prayer group. We pray every week for all of the inoccent people in Pakistan that are being killed by all this nonsense.

Posted by ramgun at September 13, 2010 12:55 AM ET:

@madashell59:
I use the word puppet to refer to someone who has no freedom of choice - someone who is in effect remote controlled. Lets not forget that Musharraf and his military entourage got into this battle at gun point (of George Bush's). Even today, they continue to fight a war that makes no sense from the POV of Pakistan. Indeed, they are fighting US's war for it

The Pak Taliban itself didnt exist during 11 Sept 2001. It came into existence thanks to Pak's support for Western forces and the Lal Masjid incident.

And please do not repeat Bush's allegation that you are 'with us or against us'. Pak or other countries need not necessarily ally themselves with one or the other. By allying with the US, they have only brought themselves misery. And you Westerners wonder why American hatred is so wide-spread in Pakistan