10 killed in suicide bombing in northwestern Pakistan

Northwestern Pakistan was hit with a double bombing today as Pakistani security forces conduct operations to reopen NATO’s supply link to Afghanistan.

Ten Pakistanis, including several security officials, were killed and more than 25 were wounded, some critically, during two bombings at the Polytechnic College in the settled district of Dera Ismail Khan in the Northwest Frontier Province. A small bomb outside of the college drew police and rescue teams, who were then attacked by a suicide bomber. Gunmen then fired on an ambulance as it transported the wounded to the hospital.

The attack in Dera Ismail Khan took place as Shia are celebrating the religious holiday of Ashuraa.

Dera Ismail Khan has been the scene of several major attacks on minority Shia this past year. The last one occurred on Nov. 21, when a bomb was detonated during a funeral procession for a murdered Shia cleric. Ten were killed and scores were wounded. A suicide bomber wounded three Pakistanis after detonating at a Shia gathering on July 13. Four Pakistanis were killed and three wounded in a bombing at a Shia mosque on June 16.

In nearby Bannu, police killed a suicide bomber before he could detonate at a checkpoint. Police also found and defused a roadside bomb in Bannu.

In Hangu, the Taliban declared sharia, or Islamic law, in two regions within the settled district of Hangu. The move comes less than a week after sharia was declared in the neighboring tribal agency of Arakzai.

Khyber Pass temporarily reopened

The Pakistani government has partially reopened the vital Khyber pass for several hours. Convoys are moving back through the tribal agency to Afghanistan after the government shut down the route and launched an operation against the Taliban last week.

The Khyber Rifles of the Frontier Corps, backed by Army helicopters and artillery, has led the operations in the Jamrud region in Khyber.

The military has claimed success in Khyber. Late last week, the military claimed 28 al Qaeda and Taliban facilitators were captured as well as 116 Afghans during the security operation. More than 200 Taliban fighters have since been reported captured. Today, security forces found a massive truck bomb wired to detonate more than 2,000 pounds of explosives along with three suicide vests.

But locals in Khyber claimed the security operation failed to root out the Taliban, who have chosen to fight another day. “There was no resistance at all from the Taliban side as they seem to have gone underground,” a local Pakistani told Daily Times.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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