Taliban attack US diplomats in Peshawar

The Pakistani Taliban claimed credit for the attack today that targeted US consular officials in the northwestern city of Peshawar. From Reuters:

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan said on Friday it had attacked a US consulate convoy in Peshawar, the latest in a surge of violence since US forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden earlier this month.

US embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said no Americans were killed or seriously wounded in the car bomb attack, which killed one Pakistani and wounded 10 people.

The attack took place on a main road in an area where many Western diplomats live and involved 50 kg of explosives, police said. “There was an attack on a two-car convoy from the consulate in Peshawar. One car was hit. We are still investigating what actually happened,” said Rodriguez.

Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan spoke to the press and said other NATO countries would also be targeted.

“The diplomatic staff of all Nato countries are our targets,” said Ihsanullah Ihsan, a Taliban spokesman, told Reuters via telephone from an undisclosed location.

“We will continue such attacks. Pakistan is our first target, and America is our second.”

Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America, the Taliban have launched several attacks against US consulates and consular officials. There have been two major attempts in Peshawar since 2008. On Aug. 28, 2008, the Taliban conducted a bold daylight attack that targeted Lynne Tracy, the US Consulate’s principal officer in Peshawar, in a high-security area of the city. And on April 5, 2010, the Taliban carried out an assault on the US Consulate; the attack was repelled by Pakistani guards.

The Taliban continue to maintain a presence in and around Peshawar despite numerous military operations in the area that were intended to relieve pressure on the city. Just three days ago, more than 100 Taliban fighters massed to attack a police outpost on the outskirts of Peshawar. Two policemen and 15 Taliban fighters were killed in the clash.

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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