Suicide bombers kill 5 in attack at Islamabad’s Islamic university

The Taliban have launched their first counterstrike outside of the tribal areas since the military began its ground offensive in South Waziristan.

Two suicide bombers entered the campus of Islamabad’s International Islamic University and detonated their vests at the men’s Islamic jurisprudence faculty and women’s cafeteria. Five Pakistanis were killed in the blasts and 29 more were reported wounded.

The suicide blasts were condemned as attacks against Islam.

“These so-called Islamists are enemies of Islam and enemies of Pakistan,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Geo News at Islamabad’s main hospital.

The Taliban have repeatedly attacked their enemies in mosques and other places of worship. There have been 18 such attacks in mosques and other Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007, according to information compiled by The Long War Journal [see list below].

The suicide attack is the latest in a wave of Taliban violence that emerged in the beginning of October. Suicide bombers have struck in Peshawar, Shangla, Kohat, and Islamabad, and assault teams have targeted police in Lahore and Peshawar and the Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi [see list below]. The attacks have killed 161 Pakistani civilians and security officials and wounded hundreds more.

Today’s attacks are the first since the military operation began against Hakeemullah Mehsud’s faction in South Waziristan. Hakeemullah has promised to carry out attacks across Pakistan until the operation is halted.

In South Waziristan, the military said it has taken the town of Kotkai near Jandola. Kotkai is the birthplace of Hakeemullah Mehsud and the home town of Qari Hussain Mehsud, the Taliban commander notorious for training children and adults to serve as suicide bombers.

The military has said 91 Taliban fighters and 13 soldiers have been killed since the Army advanced on the Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan on three fronts.

Major attacks in Pakistan since Oct. 5:

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.

Major attacks at mosques, religious events, and Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007:

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

June 12, 2009: A suicide bomber killed five Pakistanis, including anti-Taliban cleric Dr. Sarfraz Naeemi, in an attack on a mosque during Friday prayers.

June 12, 2009: A suicide bomber killed six worshipers and wounded more than 90 in an attack inside a mosque in Nowshera. The attack collapsed the dome of the mosque.

June 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 49 worshipers in an attack on a mosque in a remote village in Dir.

April 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 24 worshipers and wounded more than 100 in an attack outside a Shia religious center in the Chakwal district in Punjab province.

March 27, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 70 worshipers and wounded more than 125 in an attack at a mosque in the Khyber tribal agency.

March 5, 2009: An attacker threw a hand grenade into the middle of a mosque in Dera Ismail Khan, wounding 25 worshipers.

March 2, 2009: A suicide bomber killed six people during an attack at a gathering in a mosque in the Pishin district in Baluchistan.

Feb. 20, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 32 Pakistanis and wounded more than 85 in an attack on a funeral procession for a Shia elder who was murdered in Dera Ismail Khan.

Feb. 5, 2009: A suicide attack outside a mosque killed more than 30 Shia worshipers and wounded more than 50.

Nov. 22, 2008: A bombing at a mosque in Hangu killed five civilians and wounded seven.

Nov. 21, 2008: A suicide attack on a funeral procession in Dera Ismail Khan killed 10 mourners and wounded more than 25.

Sept. 10, 2008: The Taliban attacked a mosque filled with Ramadan worshipers in the district of Dir in northwestern Pakistan. More than 25 worshipers were killed and more than 50 were wounded.

Aug. 19, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 29 Shia mourners and wounded 35 after detonating in the emergency ward of a hospital.

June 17, 2008: Four Pakistanis were killed and three wounded in a bombing at a Shia mosque in Dera Ismail Khan.

May 19, 2008: Four Pakistanis were killed in a bombing outside a mosque in Bajaur.

Jan. 17, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 10 and wounded 25 in an attack on a Shia mosque in Peshawar.

Dec. 28, 2007: A suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a mosque in Charsadda in an attempt to kill former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao as he conducted Eid prayers. More than 50 were killed and more than 200 were wounded.

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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2 Comments

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 10/21/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • Zeissa says:

    There is a long theological and political tradition in Islam of fighting those of a different sect or alignment.
    However, such as this could be argued to be unislamic by some moderates on the same level as one argues that female priests are acceptable in Christianity.

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