Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Taliban Bombs a Hospital

The recent initiative by the Pakistani Taliban to deploy children as suicide bombers seems to have failed to win the hearts and minds of the citizens of North West Frontier Province. But the Taliban are not giving up: their latest effort to gain popular support involved a suicide bombing at a hospital.

According to AKI:

Pakistan: Taliban Claims Responsibility for Hospital Attack

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a devastating suicide attack that killed at least 25 and injured many others at a hospital in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.

The attack took place as Shia Muslims gathered at the hospital in the Dera Ismail Khan district on Tuesday to mourn a local leader who had been shot dead.
- - - - - - - - -
The latest violence came a day after Pervez Musharraf resigned as president and as political leaders were meeting to discuss to resolve differences over the judiciary and potential presidential candidates. It also underscored the political uncertainty facing Pakistan.

An emergency was declared at the hospital soon after the bomb attack and police immediately cordoned off entire area.

According to Pakistan’s Geo-TV, local Taliban spokesman, Maulvi Umer, warned that such suicide attacks would continue until the security forces ceased their operations in the Swat Valley and other parts of the North West Frontier Province areas.

The country’s tribal regions have been the scene of persistent violence along the Afghan border and are considered havens for Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants.

This probably won’t be the last mass-casualty bombing in the upcoming struggle for political power in post-Musharraf Pakistan.

Hat tip: C. Cantoni.