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.
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