89 killed in car bomb attack in Peshawar

Peshawar-blast-10282009.jpg

A street is ablaze in the aftermath of the blast in Peshawar. AFP photo.

A Taliban car bomb killed 89 Pakistanis and wounded hundreds more at a bazaar in the provincial capital of Peshawar. The attack is the latest in the Taliban’s terror campaign and took place hours after the US Secretary of State touched down for a diplomatic visit in Islamabad.

The blast took place at the crowded Meena Bazaar, sowing panic and destruction. The nearby Umme Habiba mosque was leveled and the facades of buildings crumbled from the blast’s shock wave.

“It was a car bomb,” bomb disposal official Shafqat Malik told AFP. “Some people are still trapped in a building. We are trying to rescue them.”

So far, 89 people have been reported killed and 213 have been wounded, but the numbers are expected to rise with victims still trapped in the rubble, and dozens of wounded are reported to be in critical condition.

The attack is the latest in a string of suicide strikes and military assaults by the Taliban against Pakistan’s security forces, the government, and civilians. The military is on the offensive in South Waziristan, and has claimed to have killed more than 250 Taliban fighters since the operation began on Oct. 15. The Taliban have announced they are at war with the state so long as South Waziristan remains under military siege.

Peshawar has suffered four major attacks during the Taliban offensive, which began on Oct. 5, one day after Taliban leader Hakeemullah Mehsud announced he would avenge the death of his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, and insisted that the military halt attacks in the tribal agencies. There have been 16 major attacks throughout Pakistan in 18 days (see list below).

Taliban targets the UN in Afghanistan

Across the border in Afghanistan, the Taliban killed six UN staff members in an armed assault on a guest house in the capital of Kabul. Several Taliban fighters wearing police uniforms and suicide bombs stormed the compound. Three of the bombers detonated their vests.

Afghan security forces cleared the compound and discovered six foreign UN workers were killed in the attack.

The Taliban took credit for the attack and said it was part of a campaign to disrupt the run-off presidential election scheduled for Nov. 7.

“We have said that we would attack anyone engaged in the process and today’s attack is just a start,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters.

The Haqqani Network, an al Qaeda ally based in Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan, has conducted similar attacks in Kabul and the East.

Major attacks in Pakistan since Oct. 5:

Oct. 28, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed 89 Pakistanis and wounded hundreds more in an attack on a bazaar in Peshawar.

Oct. 27, 2009: A brigadier general who served as the director of defense services guards at the Army General Headquarters escaped an assassination attempt in Islamabad.

Oct. 23, 2009: The Taliban detonated an anti-tank mine and hit a bus transporting a wedding party in Mohmand. The explosion killed 15 of the passengers and wounded six more.

Oct. 23, 2009: The Taliban detonated a car bomb outside a popular restaurant in the residential Hayatabad area in Peshawar. The attack wounded 13 civilians; nine are said to be in critical condition.

Oct. 23, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed seven people during an attack at a security checkpoint near the Kamra Air Weapon Complex in the district of Attock in Punjab province.

Oct. 21, 2009: The Taliban assassinated a brigadier general and his driver during an ambush in Islamabad.

Oct. 20, 2009: A pair of suicide bombers detonated their vests at Islamabad’s International Islamic University, killing five.

Oct. 16, 2009: A pair of suicide bombers, including a female, attacked a police station and a building housing an intelligence service in Peshawar, killing 11.

Oct. 15, 2009: Terrorist assault teams attacked the Federal Investigation Agency building, the Manawan police training centre, and the Elite Force Headquarters in Lahore. Twenty-six people, including nine terrorists and 12 policemen, were killed.

Oct. 15, 2009: A suicide bomber rammed a car into a police station in Kohat, killing 11 people, including policemen and children.

Oct. 12, 2009: A suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives as a military convoy passed through a checkpoint in a market in Alpuri in Shangla. Forty-one people, including six security personnel, were killed in the attack.

Oct. 10, 2009: An assault team attacked the Army General Headquarters and took 42 security personnel captive. Eleven soldiers were killed, including a brigadier general and a lieutenant colonel, along with nine members of the assault team; and 39 hostages were freed.

Oct. 9, 2009: A suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives in a bazaar in Peshawar, killing 49 civilians.

Oct. 5, 2009: A suicide bomber entered the World Food Program office in Islamabad and detonated his vest, killing five UN workers, including an Iraqi.

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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26 Comments

  • Minnor says:

    Very unfortunate. Glaring example of terrorism that is aimed at civilians, not at armed forces.
    This will make army to go fastest possible in south waziristan. Also, the so called months of seige looks completely false. How can they ship so much explosives into the city?

  • G-Shock says:

    How do we know its Taliban and not the ISI to win the hearts and minds of ppl against Taliban..with the kind of security in and around the city of Peshawar, smells like an inside job. Also why would Taliban attack the Islamic International University in Islamabad which preaches the same Taliban Ideology? I say if Taliban are nasty ISI is nastier.

  • babag says:

    “How can they ship so much explosives into the city?”
    I am sure terrorists have big stock of explosive within the city limits. Besides quality of security or the check points is not there. 95 innocent people, place of worship got destroyed. These are not religious extremits, these are monstors. They must be destroyed

  • m3fd2002 says:

    This might be an “accidental” ignition. The location of the blast (next to a mosque and in a narrow alley) leads me to believe that it was a premature ignition of the VBIED, while the vehicle was in transit or in storage.

  • Solomon2 says:

    “Ship explosives into the city”? Who says they weren’t manufactured there?

  • naresh says:

    As you sow, so you reap.

  • babag says:

    “As you sow, so you reap”
    I guess what happened in Mombai was the result of what india sowed in Kashmir?
    “premature ignition of the VBIED”
    That’s very much possible. Since the explosion occured in inner city, either they were planning for max civilian casualties or it was an accident. I guess more info. will be available with time. Now, Al Qaida & Taliban are both denying any involvement.

  • Spooky says:

    Whats really strange is that AQ and the Taliban are denying involvement. Considering that they usually relish these sort of things, it makes me wonder if its a rogue group or another party entirely.
    If its a rogue Taliban or AQ group, then that must mean the Waziristan op is working to the extent that its forcing the Taliban in Pakistan to lose cohesion, with rogues even crazier than OBL and Mullah Omar (if thats at all possible) feeding their bloodlust.
    If its a third party entirely however, then that worries me. Because that would mean that this black month is starting to be taken advantage of by other pressures against the Pakistani state.

  • yash says:

    Just another day in land of pure ( paradise )

  • Abheek says:

    To babag – What is happenining in Pakistan after what happened in Mumbai is called as you sow, so you reap …

  • What? says:

    Another day, another muslim on muslim massacre. Accident or not, in the big picture this kind of outcome is highly detrimental to the jihadist cause.

  • Xavier says:

    Babag,
    “As you sow so you reap” may not always apply. For example Pakistani genocide in 1971. The victims (between 1-3million) were just victims. The Pak army general wanted “3000 hindus killed everyday”. I don’t think the victims sowed anything.
    So it’s not always applicable. It is applicable for Pakistan since they have been nurturing terrorism and extremism for a long time. Starting with 1956 constitution. Read it.
    Now coming to Kashmir, it was sowed by “freedom fighters” the same people apparently now called “terrorists”, who drove away almost half a million minority from the state so that it can become a total entirely Muslim state.
    Of course we have been partly at fault having funded war in Afghanistan(in 1980s) via CIA but we had our priorities at that time (defeat of communist USSR). How is that for Pakistanis the atheist communist Russia is BAD but atheist communist China is GOOD.
    Mr. Roggio has time and again given us evidence that Pakistan(and its ISI) are still in bed with these freedom fighters(sorry they are now terrorists). I think he had an article just yesterday. So here it is applicable.
    I know it is lot of work to figure out where it is applicable but it’s got be done.

  • Xavier says:

    babag,
    Here is another example of “As you sow, so you reap”, from Dawn, //www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/i-a-rehman-the-roots-of-terrorism
    Says, the terrorism problem is internal. Ahmed Rashid a Lahore journalist, in his books also says that Pakistan nurtured terrorism as state policy. And so has Mr. Roggio demonstrated so many times.

  • gfgwgc says:

    The Dawn article aside, I see very little serious introspection amongst the pakistani people as to why that country is in the dismal state that is today. What little self-analysis does take place bumps up against the matter of Kashmir which the average pakistani has long been conditioned to believe as being an end that justifies just about any mean – including and especially violent jihad.
    Sadly enough, it is that very jihadi mindset that has made the Kashmir issue such an untractable one. When an average pakistani – such as a previous commentator – justifies and equates what happened in Mumbai with Kashmir, he is doing his cause a great disfavor. No adversary – especially a much larger one – will negotiate under the barrel of a gun, expecially one that is held by a poor depraved hick with visions of a glorious afterlife. Furthermore, the rest of the non-islamic world tends to empathize deeply with victims of such radicalism while the cause itself remains in perpetual obscurity.
    Jihad as a mindset has only one sure victim – and in this case it is an entire nation.

  • sanjith menon says:

    nobody knows indian armys tenacity when it comes to counter insurgency. our coin strategy in north east will enter its 6th decade next year. we have sacrificed and our willing to sacrifice for the sake of our nation and will continue to do in future. kashmir is just 20
    yrs old and we are willing to fight that out for the next 50 yrs, until we assimilate kashmir with rest of india. the truth about islamic ideology is that beyond a certain point these guys donot know how to take it forward. so at the end of the day we in india aren`t worried.

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 10/29/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • Glenmore says:

    Mehsud is claiming it was Blackwater’s work – I presume he means as a contractor for the CIA or such. Though WE might consider the claim absurd, I am curious how credible it is within Pakistan?

  • Spooky says:

    Blackwater are considered to be a threat by Pakistanis, who are forever suspicious of the West and its dislike of the Muslim Bomb. They tend to feel like any American military presence, especially if they are not under the same regulations as the regular military but in fact more free, are being placed to take away the one thing that, in their mind, keeps India from invading outright like it planned on doing in the aftermath of Mumbai.

  • Menon wrote:
    “kashmir is just 20yrs old and we are willing to fight that out for the next 50 yrs, until we assimilate kashmir with rest of india.”
    The reality is a bit different, I am afraid. Kashmir is old news, Pakistan, backed by Saudi Arabia has extended jihad into the heartlands of India. There are 800+ terror cells operating within India, according to India’s national security advisor.
    These cells were certainly not created for making pork chops and fine wines. India is a sitting duck.
    Indian democracy is an advanced state of an Islamic siege. If there is one nation that is being defeated by a multi-front jihad, it certainly is India.
    Check out my new book for an unprecedented look.

  • grh says:

    babag
    Who do you think is responsible for this depraved attack?
    I think it likely the market was the target (with sponsorship or splinter group) or, oops, premature explosion with another civilian target in mind. Either way it is bad, very bad.
    Looking at the events that brought about the balance of Iraqi’s turning against al Qui’da in Iraq was the horrific violence against the people. This attack fits with that operational mode.

  • FredP says:

    If the explosions location was a mistake would the Taliban or AQ not admit to just cover their incompetence? After all their ability to carry out mass terror is part of their brand which has lots of positive recognition in the Muslim world.

  • tyrone says:

    If the bomb was built in the mosque or related to the mosque somehow and then accidentally detonated … a lie is far better than the truth – “oops we blew ourselves and our friends up”. Who wants to work with a group who makes a mistake of this size? My opinion, given the denials by the islamofascists, is that it was an accidental detonation of a bomb that was being/to be transported elsewhere. Telling a lie for these folks is so routine that I think they sometimes don’t know when they are telling one. But, the propaganda arm filters things and thinks through telling beneficial lies. Pointing at the boogyman (Blackwater) is far better than saying “oops”. It gets good mileage out of a disaster amongst certain groups who are pre-disposed to believe the nonsense that the US would do something of this sort. Ridiculous to us is not so to the true believer. Belief systems are usually emotional and routinized, so facts supporting anything else are discounted, no matter how obvious.

  • Abheek says:

    Moorthy – I do agree with your observations of dangers that India faces from these Jihadis and the unfortunate ‘devil may care’ attitude of the common Indian (he is too busy either making money or watching Cricket or endless song and dance sequences from the latest valgur Bollywood movies to be really bothered about why all this is happening). To add to this, the ‘Secular’government’s apathy to discuss anything that may make Islam look bad – they want that muslim vote, afterall !
    I wish to know whether your book is published in India (I would really like atleast my fellow educated Indians to start reading books on such topics) … the 18 or so $ tag (+ 5 $ for shipping)
    makes it costly, from an Indian perspective. But then knowing Congress government, I am not sure such books which try and tell the truth about Islam would be allowed to be published / sold in India …

  • BlogSmith says:

    Feels pity for the pakistanis. Their government donn’t bother about their citizens,if so why are they not taking any strict action to stop these terrorism. If they can’t do it ask for help from some other countries.

  • Rosario says:

    Does anyone know the time of day when this blast actually occurred?

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