Taliban assault on US consulate in Peshawar repelled

The Pakistani Taliban mounted a complex assault today on the US consulate in Peshawar, but were stopped short from entering the compound. Also today, the Taliban carried out a major attack farther north in the district of Dir, killing 30 people.

Four members of the suicide assault team and two Pakistani security guards were killed during the battle outside the US consulate. The clash took place in a high-security area of Peshawar.

The US embassy in Pakistan described the Taliban assault as a “coordinated attack.” The Taliban suicide assault squad was split into two teams, and is reported to have been armed with assault rifles, machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenades. One team was assigned to breach the outer wall of the consulate using a car bomb, while the second team was to enter the compound and kill those inside.

“They came in two vehicles,” Bashir Ahmed Bilour, the senior minister for the Northwest Frontier Province, told reporters. “The militants were well-equipped. It was a well-organized attack.”

The Taliban took credit for the Peshawar attack and threatened to carry out more strikes against US personnel in Pakistan with a cadre of suicide bombers held in reserve.

“We accept the attacks on the American consulate,” Azam Tariq, the spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, told AFP. “This is revenge for drone attacks,” he said, referring to the US airstrikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas that have killed dozens of senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders and more than a thousand fighters.

“We have already told you that we have 2,800 to 3,000 fedayeen (suicide bombers),” Tariq continued. “We will carry out more such attacks. We will target any place where there are Americans.”

In recent years, the Taliban have conducted numerous attacks against heavily secured military, police, and intelligence compounds, as well as against other secured targets housing foreigners in Pakistan’s major cities. The most brazen was the assault on the Pakistani Army General Headquarters complex in the garrison city of Rawalpindi in October 2009. During the fall of 2009, the Taliban also hit secured facilities in Islamabad, Peshawar, and Multan. In January 2010, a suicide bomber even targeted the Pakistani Army in the Tararrkhal region in Pakistan-held Kashmir.

The Taliban also carried out another attack in Pakistan’s northwest today. A suicide bomber is thought to have killed more than 30 people in the town of Timargarah in Lower Dir. The attack was directed at a gathering of the Awami National Party, the ruling, secular Pashtun party in the Northwest Frontier Province, which supports dialogue to resolve the Taliban problem.

Today’s attacks are the first major strikes by the Taliban outside the tribal areas since March 13, when a suicide bomber killed 14 people in an attack on a police checkpoint in the town of Saidu Sharif outside Mingora, the main town in Swat. Five days earlier, a suicide bomber killed 11 people in the eastern city of Lahore. The target of the attack was a headquarters building of the Federal Investigation Agency.

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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14 Comments

  • Sumit says:

    Well sounds like after Indian Embassy in Kabul, terrorist are going after US consulate. Its good that the forces repelled them.

  • Render says:

    Any further questions about negotiating with the Talib?
    I
    THOUGHT
    NOT,
    R

  • Marlin says:

    A little more detail about the attack.

    The suicide bombers came in a double-cabin pick-up, two intelligence and a senior government officials said. The first bomber walked towards the outer security post and fired from his automatic assault rifle. He later blew himself up near an armoured personnel carrier.
    They said that three other bombers followed closely in tow and one of them fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the APC. The RPG exploded with a big bang but missed the target.
    “The attackers used Russian-made RPG-7. It is the most effective anti-tank explosive device. Had it hit the APC, it would have dug a hole in it,”

  • kp says:

    “It was a well-organized attack.”

    Really? THey have two two man “teams”: one car bomber and one assault teams? What they have squad level coordination? Wow, scary.

    And, as I pointed out in the Baghdad embassy attacks, they all seem to be breach and enter assaults that actually failed to breach and enter. They failed to even make it to the target and had 100% causalities.

    And in this case they failed to even get close to the CTC VBIED average of 11 opposition deaths per bomb. And they killed three. One fewer than they lost.

    This looks like a failed operation to me not a “success”.

  • kp says:

    More details here: //www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-pakistan-us-consulate6-2010apr06,0,2361688.story

    Looks like it was slightly larger attack (3 or 4 dead; 4 escaped so 50% casualties on a failed mission and four friendlies total killed). So that’s squad level coordination with 8 people in two vehicles. They left 4 explosive vests behind: indicating perhaps that they’re not willing to go to Paradise for any old reason. It looks like the anti-ram barrier did it’s job and tailgating doesn’t work to force entry (though perhaps there should be an “airlock” system working here to guarantee this).

  • BraddS says:

    2,800 to 3,000 suicide bombers? That means 28 to 30, right?

  • Al says:

    We have Marine guards at the Embassies. Anyhting at th eConsulates? Are Consulay employees allowed to have small arms?
    Re; Our Marine Guards, hoe effective can the be at an Embassy. Didn’thelp much in Tehran, Are the largerly symbolic nowdays. Are they patrolling our Emabassies with decent weapons and live ammo? Will they be allowed to fight is attacked?

  • Victor says:

    Bring it, haji…

  • tlw says:

    My guess is that the US gov. prolly doesn’t want it’s ordinary officers carrying weapons around the office.
    On the other hand the Pak Gov doesn’t want US mercs or jarheads shooting it out with crazy fundoes in the middle of the city. Which is why we have a traffic-screw-upping amount of security layed around all your embassies.
    I know how close some of you are to the US government.
    Word of advice, tell your boys to plant their embassies somewhere far outside our cities where it doesn’t screw with our traffic plans.
    These embassies were laid when we all thought that the Cold War would keep everything beyond Afghanistan frozen in deep political freeze.
    Now that that paradigm is all shot, can you please have your embassies moved far out side each city, so that less of our security guards are killed preventing your gun-fingerers from coming into contact with crazy fundies.

  • Rhyno327 says:

    A word of advice to you my friend. We are staying. If they breach the perimeter hopefully they will be greeted by a hail of lead. Religion is the opium of the people, sounds like that ‘ol Chinaman knew wat he was talking about. The hadji’s must be sky high and feeeling no pain. Wat God commands one human to kill another coz thier beliefs are different? Not one i know…

  • JT says:

    Pakistan seems to be serious in taking out the bad guys in Orakzai lately. Here is an excerpt from a recent Dawn article (hopefully it is more than bluster):
    The security forces cleared the Lower Orakzai areas of Chappri Feroze Khel, Anjani, Sheraz Garhi, Khwaja Khizar, Tarkhosam, Qadoos Kalay, Bagram, Wajpal, Hakeem Khan Kalay,Bezote, Tanda UtmanKhel, Syed Khalil Baba, Karghan, Shna Karrpa, Sunagranay, Shananka, Goheen Kalay, Jhalka Mela, Geedara, Merobak, Kharshah, Indra, Totibagh, Rangdarra Sam, Anari Kalay, Goldarra, Wacha Darra, Lagonay.

  • T Ruth says:

    JT that sounds like a geography student newly graduated trying to show off his knowledge 🙂
    Anyway ‘cleared’ of what, and, to where? More dirt under the Waziristan carpet?

  • kp says:

    tlw said “Word of advice, tell your boys to plant their embassies somewhere far outside our cities where it doesn’t screw with our traffic plans.”

    And that is the current US plan. You may not have heard but the US Embassy in London has just moved from Grosvenor Sq (no setback) to another location with more setback.

    Local forces police. army always provide perimeter security for embassies (and I presume consulates in places like Peshawar). I’m pretty sure we have armed self-defense inside the perimeter.

  • bard207 says:

    tlw,
    ———————————————————–

    My guess is that the US gov. prolly doesn’t want it’s
    ordinary officers carrying weapons around the office.
    On the other hand the Pak Gov doesn’t want US
    mercs or jarheads shooting it out with crazy fundoes in the middle of the city. Which is why we have a traffic-screw-upping amount of security layed around all your embassies.

    I know how close some of you are to the US
    government.

    Word of advice, tell your boys to plant their
    embassies somewhere far outside our cities where it doesn’t screw with our traffic plans.
    These embassies were laid when we all thought that the Cold War would keep everything beyond Afghanistan frozen in deep political freeze.

    Now that that paradigm is all shot, can you please
    have your embassies moved far out side each city, so that less of our security guards are killed preventing your gun-fingerers from coming into contact with crazy fundies.
    ———————————————————-
    So Pakistan has decided that it is better to move foreign embassies and consulates to safer locations than to do something about the crazy fundies in their country?
    Even if the U.S. and other vulnerable Western countries move their embassies and consulates to safer locations (as suggested), won’t there still be crazy fundies roaming Pakistan looking for soft targets?
    Since there have also been attacks by the crazy fundies against targets identified with the Pakistani state, I would like to suggest that the bigger problem facing Pakistan is the crazy fundies rather than the locations of foreign embassies and consulates. Why it isn’t obvious to those in Pakistan is a mystery to me.

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