A Taliban suicide bomber killed eight people in an attempt to assassinate the information minister of Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the Northwest Frontier Province) today.
The teenage suicide bomber was stopped by police before he could enter the home of Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the provincial information minister, in the town of Pabbi in Nowshera. The suicide bomber detonated his vest at the first checkpoint, striking the gathering just after Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman Malik, had paid his respects. Four of Hussain’s family members were among the more than 20 people wounded in the attack.
Hussain was receiving guests who were paying respects for his only son, Mian Rashid Hussain, who had been murdered by the Taliban on July 24. Ahsanullah Ahsan, the deputy spokesman for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, said six assassins shot and killed Mian Rashid.
Police believe that a mosque near Hussain’s home where mourners were congregating may have been the target of the attack. Police are currently searching for two additional suspected suicide bombers in Pabbi.
The Hussains have been targeted by the Taliban for their opposition to the terror group. The information minister has been outspoken against the Taliban in Pakistan’s northwest.
The Taliban is conducting a low-intensity campaign of targeted assassinations, kidnappings, and intimidation in Pakistan’s northwest after being dislodged from power in Swat and the eastern region of South Waziristan during military operations over the past year. Hundreds of tribal leaders and politicians who back the government have been killed in the tribal areas and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Pakistani military claims that thousands of Taliban fighters have been killed, but US military and intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal said Pakistan has exaggerated its successes against the Taliban.
The core of the Taliban’s leadership remains in place, and key commanders whom the Pakistani military claimed to have killed during operations have re-emerged to prove they are indeed alive. Most recently, Mullah Fazlullah, the Taliban’s leader in Swat, was seen on a videotape in which he urged Pakistanis to wage jihad and threatened those who cooperate with the government.
• Eight killed in Nowshera suicide blast, Geo News
• Search operation begins for 2 bombers in Pabbi, Geo News
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