A Taliban suicide bomber struck for the third time in three days in Pakistan’s volatile Northwest Frontier Province.
A suicide car bomb was detonated in a market in the district of Charsadda, killing 24 Pakistanis, including many women and children. According to a report, 55 people were wounded; six of them are said to be in critical condition.
Today’s suicide attack follows similar Taliban bombings near Peshawar, the provincial capital. On Nov. 9, a suicide bomber detonated at a police checkpoint on the Ring Road just outside the city, killing four. On Nov. 8, a suicide bomber killed an anti-Taliban militia leader and 12 others at a market in Matni south of Peshawar.
Today’s suicide attack is the latest strike in the Taliban’s terror offensive, which began on Oct. 5. The Taliban have launched suicide attacks and terror assaults in Pakistan’s major cities and throughout the northwest.
The Taliban and allied jihadi groups have launched military assaults against the Army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and against police centers in Lahore. In addition, suicide bombers have struck in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar, Kohat, Swat, Charsadda, and Shangla.
The military is currently on the offensive against Hakeemullah Mehsud’s faction of the Taliban in South Waziristan. The military claimed 17 Taliban fighters and four soldiers have been killed over the past two days, and that more than 520 Taliban fighters and only 44 soldiers have been killed since the operation was launched on Oct. 17.
The Taliban maintain they have conducted a “tactical retreat” and will wage a guerrilla campaign over the next several months. So far, no senior Taliban leaders or military commanders have been killed or captured during the offensive.
Qari Hussain Mehsud, the notorious trainer of child suicide bombers, is thought to be behind the current Taliban terror campaign in Pakistan.
Some Pakistanis refuse to believe, however, that the Taliban would conduct such attacks against civilians, according to reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Some Pakistanis blame the US, India, and Israel for the attacks, claiming their Muslim brothers in the Taliban would never conduct such un-Islamic attacks. The government and the military have done little to counter this perception, and have presented flimsy evidence of Indian support of the Taliban in South Waziristan.
Major attacks in Pakistan since Oct. 5:
Nov. 10, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 24 people in a market in Charsadda.
Nov. 9, 2009: A suicide bomber killed four people during an attack at a police checkpoint outside Peshawar.
Nov. 8, 2009: A suicide bomber killed an anti-Taliban leader and 12 others in an attack at a market in the town of Matni near Peshawar.
Nov. 5, 2009: An Army brigadier and a soldier were wounded in an ambush in Islamabad.
Nov. 2, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed 34 Pakistanis and wounded scores more in an attack in Rawalpindi.
Nov. 2, 2009: A pair of suicide bombers killed one policeman and wounded 25 security officers and civilians after the pair detonated their vests at a security checkpoint.
Oct. 28, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed 119 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. The attack killed 41 people, including six security personnel.
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.
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