The Taliban conducted a deadly attack against police in the capital of Pakistan’s Taliban insurgency-infested Northwest Frontier Province.
Seven policemen and one civilian were killed after a car bomb was detonated near a police checkpoint on the outskirts of Peshawar. Police were lured to the car after seeing a dead body inside.
The attack took place one day after the Taliban fired more than 20 mortars at a police outpost in Peshawar and bombed a shrine dedicated to a 17th century Sufi poet. The Taliban had sent a letter to the management of the shrine warning against the promotion of “shrine culture,” Daily Times reported. Another police outpost in Peshawar was attacked on March 3, but no casualties were reported.
The attack is the second major strike since March 3, when a bomber detonated at a girls’ madrassa in the district of Pishin in northern Baluchistan province. Five people were killed and 12 were wounded in the attack, which may have targeted a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl political party who was scheduled to speak.
Another attack, on March 5, targeted worshipers at a mosque in Dera Ismail Khan, a district adjacent to the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan. Twenty-five people were wounded after an attacker lobbed a grenade during prayer. The Taliban and allied anti-Shia extremist groups have attacked Shia mulitple times in Dera Ismail Khan, including a suicide attack on a funeral procession that killed 32 people.
The spate of attacks are the latest moves by the Taliban insurgency in Pakistan’s northwest. The Taliban control multiple tribal agencies and several settled districts in the province and have attacked NATO supply columns passing through the Khyber agency in an attempt to choke off forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Negotiations in the district of Swat, where the Pakistani military has been defeated three times since November 2007, have led to a ceasefire and an agreement that would cede nearly one-third of the province to the Taliban. The military claimed to have defeated the Taliban in the tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand.
The Taliban insurgency has spread beyond the violent Northwest Frontier Province and is moving eastward into Punjab province. Taliban fighters have assaulted police outposts and conducted major suicide attacks in the Punjab districts of Mianwali and Dera Ghazi Khan during February.
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