The Taliban’s suicide campaign against the Pakistani government is in full swing. The latest suicide bombings occurred outside a weapons factory just west of the capital of Islamabad in Punjab province.
More than seventy Pakistanis have been reported killed and more than eighty wounded after two suicide bombers detonated their vest “almost simultaneously” outside the gates of the Wah Cantt (military installation), Geo TV reported. The bombers detonated their vests within a minute of each other. The attack occurred just as workers were changing shifts in order to maximize casualties.
The Taliban took credit for today’s attack. Mullah Omar, the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said the attack was a response to yesterday’s airstrike in Wana, South Waziristan, that killed at least eight al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.
The Wah Cantt hosts three weapons complexes, according to Global Security. The attack occurred outside the gates of the Pakistani Ordnance Factories, a collection of 14 factories that produces arms and ammunition for the Pakistani armed forces. More than 40,000 Pakistanis are employed at the factories.
The Kamra Air Weapon Complex and Heavy Industries Taxila are also contained within the Wah Cantt. Taxila “is devoted to land combat systems,” Global Security notes, while Kamra is believed to be connected with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. The Pakistani Ordnance Factories are believed to store nuclear weapons at a “screwdriver level” – meaning the components are stored disassembled and can be assembled within hours of use.
The Taliban targeted Pakistani Air Force personnel outside the Kamra Air Force Base last December. Seven were wounded in the suicide bombing. Three other bombings and suicide attacks occurred near bases housing nuclear weapons last year. Numerous other attacks occurred at military and police installations.
The Pakistani government and the military have issued multiple statements assuring the Pakistani people and the west that the country’s nuclear weapons are safeguarded and incapable of falling into the hands of terrorists. The US governement has voiced concerns over the safety of Pakistan’s nukes.
Today’s suicide bombing is the fourth mass-casualty strike by the Taliban since August 12. Two days ago, a Taliban suicide bomber struck at a hospital in Dera Ismail Khan. More than thirty were killed and 25 wounded in the attack.
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 have repeatedly threatened to re-initiate suicide and bombing attacks throughout Pakistan if the government did not cease military operations in Swat and Bajaur. Baitullah Mehsud, the commander of the Pakistani Taliban, had previously threatened wage “jihad” and turn the provinces of Sindh and Punjab “into a furnace” if the operations did not cease. The Taliban cowed the Pakistani government into signing peace agreements after a vicious suicide and military campaign in 2007 and early 2008 that claimed thousands of Pakistani lives.
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The question of most importance is if the Pakistani Intelligence service is in collusion with the “Pakistani Taliban”. If this is the case we can expect some intense plays for position and power within the Pakistani military community. The outcome of such an internal power struggle in the Pakistani military is potentially very dangerous.
Just as dangerous is the lack of a clear civilian group with primacy in the Pakistani government. I doubt if anyone outside of Pakistan even knows the connections, positions or military connections of the civilians who want control of the government.
The reactions of all these players gives Pakistan a real window for chaos.
“Mullah Omar, the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said the attack was a response to yesterday’s airstrike in Wana, South Waziristan, that killed at least eight al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.”
How often does the Taliban announce a tit for tat with previous missile strikes? Perhaps we hit them were it hurt. Or maybe they are angry because they weren’t tipped off before the attack?
I for one am more concerned with attacks taking place at a facility where nukes are stored. Assembled or not if they can create enough chaos to steal nukes piece by piece the world is indeed in trouble. Guess it is hard to say if they already have any components of a nuke already.
Some reports have the death toll at 100 or better.
Some Pakistanis still think that the CIA and RAW are behind the suicide attacks and that Baitullah Mehsud & Co are in Afghanistan under the protection of the USA
Pakistanis, see what appeasement of these subhumans has brought you? Wake from your neutralized sleep and fight back! Join with the West to irradiate this cancer!
In any other civilized society, citizens would demand of their government: “Go get them! And if you don’t have the weaponry, territorial control, or courage, ask the Coalition to help eliminate these monsters!”
It is good to have Mullah Omar take responsibility for such attacks. That makes it difficult for anyone to blame them on others. Even the people who see the US as the root of all evil cannot see Omar as an American stooge. They can see him as a troublemaking foreigner that needs to be controlled or eliminated. Those Pakistanis who tolerate the Al Queda and Taliban because they attack the US may start wondering whether the trouble they cause doesn’t exceed any possible good.
In time, we may have a Pakistani Awakening movement we can work with and who knows, in a year or so we may even have Galani or Kahani show some Maliki-like traits. (One can dream can’t we?)
Hitler couldn’t win a two front war. Neither can Mehsud. Let him bomb away, he’s going to tighten his own noose.
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/22/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.
“They hit at the heart of the Paki military industrial complex. There will be a response.”
I believe the Taliban spokesman is Maulvi Omar. Not Mullah Omar. I’ve noticed many news article have been confusing the two lately.
Maulvi and Mullah are titles that essentially mean the same thing, and this Taliban spokesman is referred to as Mullah and Maulvi interchangeably. This is not the ‘Mullah Omar’ of founding the Taliban infamy.
Just think what would happen if the attack had gotten inside.
Does the P-stani military know they are at war? Seems the Corps commanders are really not interested in engaging and stomping the T-ban/AQ. Possible collusion? We KNOW the ISI is in bed with them, but the response from thier Army has been…weak. Well, looks like the hadji’s know where the nuclear goodies are, and I don’t believe at all they are safe. The US needs to stop talking to the P-stani’s about air-strikes and so on. From our mouths to our enemies ear. 2 faced P-stani’s, bomb those camps ASAP.