Tehrik-i-Taliban claims responsibility for GHQ attack Monday, 12 Oct, 2009
Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq called The Associated Press on Monday and said the attack that killed 20 people was only the first in a planned series of strikes intended to avenge the killing of their leader Baitullah Mehsud in a CIA drone attack in August.
He said the raid on army headquarters was carried out by a Punjabi faction of the militant group and it had given orders to other militant branches across the country to launch similar operations.
He also warned the army that if it launched a planned offensive into Waziristan it would be its undoing.(Dawn)
GHQ attack planned in SWA: Military spokesman Updated at: 1810 PST, Monday, October 12, 2009
RAWALPINDI: Director General (DG) ISPR Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas the plot of attacking GHQ was chalked out in South Waziristan while five of the terrorists belonged to the area of Baitullah Mehsud.Giving briefing to the media here on Monday, DG ISPR said the objective of the militant’s action was to hold senior military officials hostage and get their demands fulfilled. “They gave a list of 100 people, which included names some very dangerous terrorists, and demanded their release,” he said. Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said the apprehended terrorist Aqeel alias Dr. Usman is not in a condition of giving statement.He said 10 terrorists, clad in military uniform and riding a white car, attacked GHQ on October 10 at 11:30 AM.Six army personnel were martyred in the incident. The security personnel immediately surrounded the GHQ building where 42 people were taken hostage.DG ISPR said rescue operation ‘Janbaz’ was launched and 30 hostages were rescued in the first phase. But three of them were martyred, he added.In the second phase Aqeel alias Dr. Usman was apprehended while 9 terrorists were killed in the action.Those supplying food to the hostages played role of spies, he said. The terrorists were wearing suicide jackets and had explosives on them, but they could not detonate them as the commando action was underway at that time, DG ISPR said.He said the terrorists were well-trained and if the army had not taken a timely action, enormous damage could have been caused. They were in contact with media and South Waziristan.He said the Army Chief remained constantly updated on the latest situation. DG ISPR said a combined investigation of the incident will be undertaken. He said there is information about presence of terrorists, linked with banned Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, in Waziristan. There is similar information of a small group of militants present in Southern Punjab, he added.“The situation is being analyzed and any decision taken will be in the interest of the country and nation,” Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said.He said Amjad Farooqui group has claimed responsibility of GHQ attack. (The News)
PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber flung himself at a military convoy passing through a busy market in northwest Pakistan on Monday, killing 41 people, the military said.
The bomber targeted a paramilitary convoy as it passed through a security check post in a bazaar in Alpuri town in Shangla, a district neighbouring Swat valley and the target of a recent anti-Taliban military offensive.
Pakistan’s army claims to have cleared Swat and nearby districts of the Taliban threat in an offensive launched in April, and are now poised to start a similar ground and air assault in the nearby northwest tribal belt.
‘Forty-one people were killed and 45 were injured in the suicide blast,’ said Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister for the North West Frontier Province.
‘Twelve of the injured are in serious condition.’
Major Mushtaq Khan, a spokesman at the military-run Swat Media Centre, said that six of the dead were soldiers, while the rest were civilians.
‘The attacker was wearing a suicide vest packed with high-quality explosive material,’ he told AFP.
‘Our assessment is that the bomber was on foot. When he blew himself up, some of the trucks carrying ammunition were also hit and the ammunition exploded, causes more human losses.’
Khan said that 12 shops and seven vehicles were destroyed in the blast, while some buses packed with civilians were also caught in the explosions.
‘The target was a security convoy near an army check post. This is a crowded bazaar and a lot of people were present at that time,’ Shangla Member of Parliament Fazlullah Khan said on a local television station.
Swat valley was the target of the punishing military offensive launched in April this year after Taliban militants advanced towards Islamabad.
Fighting also spilled into Shangla, where Taliban militants had infiltrated in a bid to impose a harsh brand of Islamic law across the northwest.
Alpuri was known to be a stronghold of fugitive Swat Taliban commander Mullah Fazlullah, who remains at large, raising concerns that the Swat Taliban are regrouping in the northwest Pakistan’s rugged mountains.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but the Pakistani Taliban have vowed to avenge both the Swat military offensive and the death of their leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US missile strike in August.
Pakistan has been hit by a wave of attacks blamed on religious extremists in the past week, with at least 52 civilians killed on Friday when a suicide bomber rammed his car into a market in the northwest capital Peshawar.
Then on Saturday, suspected Taliban-linked gunmen staged an audacious day-time raid on the army headquarters near Islamabad, shooting their way into a building and barricading themselves inside with 42 hostages.
In total, eight militants, 11 soldiers and three hostages were killed in the crisis that unfolded at the heart of the military establishment in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, which ended with a commando raid Sunday.
The military are now readying for a full-on ground assault into the Taliban strongholds in the northwest tribal belt neighbouring Afghanistan. (Dawn)