Taliban massacre at least 43 Pakhtuns in Dir

Enemies of Pakistan and Islam, known as Taliban, have once again struck the innocent people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This time their target was a thanksgiving rally of Awami National Party (ANP) in Timargara, lower Dir.

At least 43 people have been killed and 100 have been injured in this most recent massacre by Taliban terrorists.

The bomb blast occurred in a public meeting organised by ANP to celebrate renaming NWFP as Pakhtoonkhwa. A large number of people had gathered for the celebration organised by the ANP, which leads the ruling coalition in the province.

It was a suicide attack,” ANP spokesman Senator Zahid Khan told media while condemning the attack on the meeting that was held at a rest house near the crowded bazaar in Timergarah of the Lower Dir district in the northwest province.

Some 800 local party workers and leaders were attending the meeting before taking out the rally to celebrate the renaming of the northwest province as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The blast occurred at a rest house in the market of Timergara, the headquarters of Lower Dir district, where the ANP had organised the rally.

Deputy inspector general of police (Malakand division) Qazi Jamilur Rahman and senior ANP leader Zahid Khan confirmed it was a suicide attack. Several witnesses said they had seen police firing at the suicide bomber before he detonated his explosives.

Sultan Zeb, local head of ANP, was among the dead and party leader Zahid Khan’s brother was injured in the attack. TV news channels beamed footage of bloodstained bodies lying on the lawn outside the rest house as people carried the injured away from the site. Security forces cordoned off the area and an emergency was declared in nearby hospitals. Hospital officials issued an appeal for people to donate blood.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Amir Hyder Hoti has strongly condemned the blast and expressed grief over loss of precious human lives.

“The government will continue to fight against the militants in the province,” said Haji Adeel, an ANP leader.

The Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the ANP was targeted as it is in the front line of the war on terror. He said the ANP will continue to fight against the militants unless they are eliminated.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack. But the ANP leaders blamed Taliban militants for the attack. Taliban militants had targeted ANP leaders, who are supporting the army’s operation against the militants.

The ANP is leading a coalition in the NWFP along with the Pakistan People’s Party of President Asif Ali Zardari.

The Maidan area near Timergara was a key stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban till the army launched a major offensive last year to evict militants from Buner, Dir and Swat regions of the NWFP. The Timergara area was also a key base for Sufi Muhammad, the chief of the banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi.

DIG Rahman said security forces had effectively controlled the activities of militants in the region and they could no longer carry out attack in groups. “However, some elements are still present in the area and they are trying to spread terror,” he said.

It was one of the bloodiest day in the province, where government forces are pressing an offensive to force Taliban fighters out of their strongholds in Aurakzai and South Waziristan.

Later in the afternoon, Taliban militants, dressed in battle fatigues, made a brazen attempt to storm the US consulate in Peshawar with car bombs and grenades.

Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack with its spokesman Azam Tariq (an alias adopted after slain terrorist leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba) saying “3,000 fidayeen were ready to target the Americans and their agents”.

10 responses to “Taliban massacre at least 43 Pakhtuns in Dir”

  1. Profile: Khalid Khawaja http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=khalid_khawaja

    I was negotiating with the Taliban, James Woolsey [the former head of the CIA] and Mansoor Ijaz [a Pakistani businessman in the US]. They knew it was not the Taliban that was responsible for September 11. It was all planned by the Jewish lobby to take over Afghanistan. The Jewish lobby is taking the whole of Afghanistan hostage. Khalid Khawaja – A former officer with Pakistan’s inter-services intelligence agency, he has met Osama bin Laden several times and once described him as ‘like an angel’ guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 11 September 2002 02.12 BST http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/sep/11/september112002.september114

  2. The tragic attack in a political procession which resulted in over 43 casualties of innocent civilians is a harsh reminder of the fact that is war is far from over. I won’t amaze me if a Taliban apologist would rationalize this atrocity for it is there sole mission to keep the masses in denial.
    We must not pay any heed to such elements and stand firm on fighting extremist elements in our society.

  3. Dying to kill

    Like a slap in the face, Monday’s terror attacks left a harsh sting on our claims of staying two steps ahead in curbing the militants. Targeting a rally of ANP in Timergarah, Lower Dir, celebrating the renaming of NWFP as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, a suicide bomber killed close to 50 people. Reports state that the bomber was an adolescent. In the wake of this atrocity, news of another attack in Peshawar shook the country. The target was the US Consulate, a place considered insulated and impregnable to all threats due to the intense security under which it functions. However, such assumptions were belied as a fierce battle took place between the militants and the consulate guards, four of whom were killed.

    It is alarming that such assaults have become routine assertions of the terrorists’ effectiveness in instilling a sense of dread and fear within the national psyche. Such incidences are also a reminder that there is only so much we can protect and only so much we can pin on our security agencies. To lay the responsibility for a cessation of terror attacks solely on the security agencies would be unjust. There can never be enough security provided to citizens, state institutions, foreign missions and rallies. When faced with a masked enemy who could be anyone and anywhere, what is required is a heightening of intelligence and police work to pre-empt and prevent such incidents.

    The Taliban have arrogantly claimed responsibility for the Peshawar attack and have vowed to do more harm. The US Consulate attack was a reminder that no place is safe and no one is beyond the terrorists’ deadly reach. In the light of the terrorists’ declared intentions, our two-pronged strategy of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism will need to be pursued with greater vigour. The war being waged in FATA and Swat is an assault on terrorist strongholds, a good example of how a correct counter-insurgency strategy can fragment the enemy and force him to literally run for the hills. That is when countering terror comes into play as these fragmented groups then resort to audacious assaults to reinstate themselves on top in this cycle of war. The daylight attack on the US Consulate was extremely sophisticated and well coordinated. To anticipate and obstruct the next move made by the terrorists, an intelligently carried out infiltration operation is necessary so that an unseen enemy can be tracked and intelligence reports can be relayed back to those who can then, appropriately, heighten their defences. News reports have suggested that the Taliban are now reluctant to bring new troops into their fold for this very reason.

    It is common knowledge that our debilitated youth become fodder for the militants. Usually described as young men who have no jobs, no education prospects and no hope, these emotionally charged and impulsive teenagers make the perfect scapegoats. However, such socially alienated elements can be removed from the militants’ reach by integrating them within the community. The fundamental importance of education and employment, tasks that should be taken up on a war footing, is undeniable

    Dealing with such unruly elements requires a study of the demography and profile of the elements you are dealing with.


  4. If people are sending their children to religious schools, there’s only one reason behind it and that’s poverty. Responsible parents would never give away their children like this, but poverty forces them do this. If only they had a sustainable source of earning, their children would not have been in religious schools, getting training of becoming suicide bombers.

  5. It is important for the army to form alliances with local tribesmen who are against Taliban; this will help in eradicating this problem from its roots. Although Taliban are not organized as they were before, but still the results of these suicide attacks are quite damaging.

  6. TTP strikes again
    Dawn Editorial , 07 Apr, 2010

    Last week Qari Hussain, Ustad-i-Fidayeen, warned that the “memory of Khost”, a reference to the bombing of the CIA forward base last December, would soon be refreshed. Intelligence warnings had been provided to the Americans that strikes against them were possible.

    In Miranshah, North Waziristan Agency, the Taliban had warned that Afghanistan and Pakistan were “one” in terms of a war theatre. And then the TTP struck on Monday, launching a sophisticated attack on the US consulate in Peshawar and a devastating car bombing of an ANP rally in Timergara, Lower Dir. The threat that the TTP continues to pose is very real and very serious.

    So yet again, some questions have to be asked. First, where are the Qari Hussains and Hakeemullah Mehsuds (he has risen from the ‘dead’) hiding? The intelligence and security agencies have made some decent progress in the war against militancy but they have still, by and large, failed to capture or kill most of the top militant commanders. For example in Swat, of the 50 most-wanted militants about 80 per cent have been accounted for by the security forces, but the ones who are missing are part of the top leadership. In other militancy-hit areas, too, a similar pattern has been established. Where is Tariq Afridi? Where is Faqir Mohammed? The reason it is important to get these top leaders is becoming increasingly apparent. Sophisticated and devastating attacks like those launched on Monday would be infinitely more difficult for middle-ranking or lower-tier militants to pull off on their own. Moreover, the top commanders have repeatedly pledged to keep on attacking targets, indicating that they have no intention of melting away and giving up the fight.

    Second, what exactly is going on in North Waziristan Agency? Many, if not most, of the recent militancy trails appear to end in the agency. The state is trying to put pressure on Hafiz Gul Bahadur via the tribal structure to either stop the violence emanating from NWA or to dismantle the safe havens that have been established there. But it is not clear yet who is in fact in control of NWA. Is it Hafiz Gul Bahadur or is it Hakeemullah Mehsud? And while the army maintains it has a fair amount of resources in the area (which it does), the state has perhaps the least direct influence. Sooner rather than later, the army needs to establish its control over the area. The Taliban may be on the run but they have proved they still have the capacity to launch strikes almost anywhere in the country. They must be denied whatever space they have found in North Waziristan.