Suicide bomber kills 27 in attack on military convoy in Pakistan

Click map for full view. Taliban presence, by district and tribal agency, in the Northwest Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies. Information on Taliban presence obtained from open source and derived by The Long War Journal based on the presence of Taliban shadow governments, levels of fighting, and reports from the region. Map created by Bill Raymond for The Long War Journal. Last updated: April 14, 2009.

The Taliban struck Pakistani security forces with a deadly suicide attack for the second time this week. Twenty-seven Pakistanis were killed, including 25 policemen and soldiers, after a suicide car bomber struck at a checkpoint in the northwestern district of Hangu. Fifteen people, including five policemen, were wounded in the attack.

The suicide bomber detonated his car packed with explosives as a military convoy was passing through the checkpoint. Eleven military vehicles and the checkpoint were destroyed in the attack, Geo News reported. Several homes were also damaged in the suicide strike.

Today’s suicide attack is the second in Pakistan’s insurgency-plagued Northwest Frontier Province this week. On April 15, in a nearly identical attack, a suicide bomber driving a car rammed into a checkpoint in the district of Charsadda.

The Taliban and al Qaeda have been targeting security forces in Pakistan’s northwest. There have been 57 major attacks against Pakistani police, soldiers, paramilitary Frontier Corps troops, and other security forces since July 2007. There have been hundreds of smaller attacks during that time period.

These attacks include suicide strikes and military assaults against checkpoints, training centers, forts, and bases; ambushes against convoys; beheadings and executions of captured security personnel; and targeted assassinations against military leaders. No region of Pakistan has been spared. The attacks have taken place in Pakistan’s major cities, including Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Rawalpindi, as well as in the rural areas and in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas.

The Taliban have been focusing on expanding their territory in the central districts of the Northwest Frontier Province after taking control of the northern, western, and southern districts and the tribal areas. In the last week, the government signed the sharia bill that essentially ceded the northern one-third of the province to the Taliban, while the Taliban took control of Buner without a fight. Mardan may be the next district to fall under Taliban control, and the Taliban have stepped up attacks in Charsadda and Peshawar.

See: Major attacks against Pakistani security forces for a timeline of the attacks since July 2007.

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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4 Comments

  • ED says:

    THE VAULTED SPRING OFFENSIVE IN AFGANISTAN APPEARS TO BE HAPPENING IN PAKISTAN.
    ONCE AGAIN MUSLIM SUICIDE BOMBERS ARE VERY EFFECTIVE IN KILLING MUSLIMS.
    TRIBES WHO JUST SUBMIT TO TALIBAN CONTROL AS A SURVIVAL STRATEGY WILL FIND THEIR MEN SHUNTED OFF TO AFGANISTISTAN TO BECOME MARTYRED. THUS WEAKENING THEIR FUTURE ABILITY TO OPPOSE THE TALIBAN AND THEIR AL QAEDA MASTERS.
    SHIA AND SUNNIS THAT DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE WAHHABI SECT OF ISLAM WILL BE FORCED TO SUBMIT OR DIE ALONG WITH THE OTHER RELIGIOUS MINORITIES.
    THE PAKISTANIS WITH MONEY WILL FLEE THE COUNTRY.
    WOMEN WILL BE DENIED FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT, EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT AND HEALTH CARE.
    THE TALIBAN WILL CONTINUE THEIR MOVEENT SOUTH INTO OTHER AREAS OF PAKISTAN.
    THE AL QUEDA ARABS WILL TRY TO START A WAR WITH INDIA TO FORCE A MERGER WITH THE PAK MILITARY AND TALIBAN FORCES THUS GAINING ACCESS TO THE PAKS WEAPONS.
    IT REMINDS ME OF GERMANY BEFORE WORLD WAR TWO.
    THE PAKISTANI MILITARY HAS TO FIGHT TO PREVENT THIS.
    IF THEY DO NOT FIGHT THE WORLD NEEDS TO STOP ALL AID TO PAKISTAN.
    IF THE WORLD WOULD STOP ALL AID TO PAKISTAN IT WOULD FORCE THE PAKISTANI MILITARY TO FIGHT OR LOSE TO THE TALIBAN.

  • Minnor says:

    Great sacrifice by Pak army. They can instead secure Hangu if they launch offensive in Orakzai, which is close also to garrison city of Kohat. And the operation can be finished with fewer casualties than what they suffered today alone.

  • Spooky says:

    I’ve been wondering…Because PAF Kohat (a satellite base, if someone could explain to me what that means), PAF Peshawar and PAF Risalpur (two of the ten main operating bases of the Air Force) are now on the front line, will the Army at least defend THEM or will they allow the bases to fall to the Taliban too? Especially PAF Kohat, not being as important (I assume) as the other two. Would they let the Taliban take out their planes on the ground? Escape to the other bases (I read an recent interview from the ACM that they will fortify Risalpur with top line aircraft, so maybe not), or something else?

  • Marlin says:

    The Pakistani military makes at least a token response.

    Pakistani jets and helicopters attacked suspected militant bases in a tribal area on the Afghan border on Sunday, killing at least 12 militants, a military official said.
    The air assault near Ghiljo area in the tribal Orakzai district came a day after a suicide attack claimed by the Taliban killed more than 20 security personnel in nearby Hangu town, the official said.
    ‘We had information about the presence of militants in the surrounding hills,’ a senior military officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
    ‘We engaged jets and helicopters and at least four Taliban bases were destroyed in the bombing and shelling,’ he said.

    Dawn: Twelve militants killed in Orakzai air raid: official

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