The Pakistani military suffered its second suicide bombing outside the Northwest Frontier Province in three days. Two days after an al Qaeda suicide bomber killed eight in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, a suicide bomber drove his motorcycle into a bus at an air base in Sargodha in the province of Punjab. Eight were killed and 27 wounded in the strike. Four military officers and civilians were among those killed.
The bombing in Sargodha is the latest in a series of strikes targeting the military and civilians both inside and outside of the violent Northwest Frontier Province. The Taliban have used the Pakistani military assault on the radical Red Mosque, or Lal Masjid, in the heart of Islamabad in July as a rallying call for their jihad.
But the Taliban intensified their insurgency against the government long before the Lal Masjid attack. The Taliban and al Qaeda launched a suicide campaign in the winter and spring against targets in Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi ad a host of cities and towns throughout Pakistan.
In July, al Qaeda spokesman Abu Yahya al Libi called for the Pakistani people and the military to rise up against the Musharraf regime. Al Libi was later reinforced by both al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his second in command Ayman al Zawahiri.
The largest strike so far targeted former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Karachi on the day she returned from exile. The sophisticated, multi-pronged ambush included suicide bombers, roadside bombers, and snipers. Over 136 were killed and 500 plus wounded. The Taliban and al Qaeda also conducted suicide attacks against Prime Minister Aziz and Interior Minister Sherpao. The Taliban also attempted to shoot down President Musharraf’s airplane as he departed the airport in Rawalpindi.