Suicide bomber attacks police in Pakistan's northwest
The Taliban executed another suicide attack that targeted Pakistani security forces in the northwest.
The latest attack took place today at a checkpoint outside a police station in the district of Hangu in the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Twenty-four people were killed and more than 45 were wounded, according to Reuters. A police spokesman said many of those wounded are in critical condition.
"It was a car suicide attack targeting a city police station. The bomber blew up the car at a checkpoint close to the police station," police deputy inspector general Masood Khan Afridi told Dawn.
Today's attack was claimed the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan as part of its ongoing campaign of revenge for the death of al Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden. The Taliban faction has been targeting state security forces and civilians alike in recent attacks in Karachi and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
"We accept responsibility for this attack. This was a small attack to avenge Osama's martyrdom," Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said. "Soon you will see bigger attacks. Revenge for Osama can't be satisfied just with small attacks."
The Taliban have targeted police in Hangu twice before with suicide attacks since the beginning of March. On March 8, a bomber detonated his car at a checkpoint, killing four policemen and five civilians. And on March 23, a suicide bomber killed five more policemen in an attack on a police station. The Taliban also blew up a bus in Hangu on Jan. 17, killing 17 people. In addition, the Taliban have carried out several other small-scale ambushes and IED attacks against security forces in the district.
Commander Tariq Afridi is the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in Hangu, as well as in regions in Peshawar, Kohat, Arakzai, and Khyber. Afridi was named the terror group's commander of Khyber in November 2009. He is also the leader of the Commander Tariq Afridi Group. This Taliban outfit is considered the most powerful terror group in Arakzai, and is based in Darra Adam Khel. The Tariq Afridi Group conducts attacks on Pakistani security forces in Arakzai, Kohat, and Hangu. His fighters were responsible for closing down the Kohat Tunnel twice in 2008, as well as several attacks against the tunnel earlier this year.
Today's attack in Hangu is the latest in the Taliban's suicide campaign against the Pakistani state since Osama bin Laden was killed in a US raid in Abbottabad on May 2. Yesterday a suicide bomber killed five policemen and a soldier in an attack on a police station in a secured zone in Peshawar. On May 22, a suicide assault team stormed a naval base in Karachi and killed 10 servicemen and destroyed two P-3C Orion aircraft. At least of two members of the Taliban assault team escaped during the fighting. And on May 20, the Taliban detonated a car bomb that targeted US consular officials in the same secured zone in Peshawar; no one was killed.