Eight Pakistanis were killed and 20 were wounded in a bombing at a cafe in Islamabad. Today’s attack is the latest in the Taliban’s new terror campaign outside the tribal areas.
The bombing occurred at a restaurant frequented by laborers and travelers on the outskirts of Pakistan’s capital, Daily Times reported. The bomb contained about eight pounds of explosives and left a one-foot deep crater. Witnesses indicated a child may have placed the bomb. Initial reports suggested a propane cylinder caused the explosion, but the cafe owner denied he used propane for fuel.
The Taliban have targeted cafes in Islamabad in the past. Last March, one civilian was killed and 15 wounded in a bombing at an Italian restaurant known to be frequented by foreigners. Twelve foreigners were wounded in the bombing.
The Taliban have reinitiated their attacks in Pakistan’s major cities after the government refused to halt security operation in the Swat district and the Bajaur tribal agency. In response, the government recently outlawed the Pakistani Taliban and threatened to seize assets and detain senior leaders.
The Islamabad attack is the fifth major strike since Aug. 20, and the seven since Aug. 12.
The bombing in Islamabad occurred the same day the Taliban targeted the senior US diplomat in Peshawar. The US Consulate’s principal officer and her driver evaded an ambush on the streets of Peshawar as she was driving to her office. Gunmen blocked the road an opened fire on her vehicle.
A suicide bomber killed 16 Pakistanis, including policemen, and wounded 20 in an attack on a police station in Swat on Aug. 23. A pair of bombers detonated outside the main gates of the Pakistani Ordnance Facility in Wah in Punjab province on Aug. 21. The day prior, a suicide bomber detonated in a hospital in Dera Ismail Khan. Thirty Pakistani civilians were killed and 25 were wounded.
Nine Pakistanis, including five policemen, were killed and more than 35 were wounded after a suicide bomber struck during Pakistan’s Independence Day celebration in the city of Lahore in Punjab province on Aug. 13.
The day prior, the Taliban took credit for a deadly bus bombing on a Pakistani Air Force bus in Peshawar. Thirteen Pakistanis, including 10 security officials, were killed and more than a dozen were wounded in the provincial capital of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province.
The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terrorist groups maintain secure bases in Pakistan’s tribal areas and in some of the settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province. These groups have established 157 training camps and more than 400 support locations in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.
On July 23, Prime Minister Syed Yusaf Raza Gilani and his cabinet were told that more than 8,000 foreign fighters were operating in the tribal areas.