Bombings kill 31, including 25 troops, in Pakistan

April 19th, 2009 - 2:00 am ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 19 (DPA) Two separate bombings Saturday killed at least 31 people, including 25 soldiers, in Pakistan’s restive northwestern region, police officials and media reports said.
A suicide car bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a security wall around an army post when a military convoy was passing by in Doaba town in the restive Hangu district in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

“It was a suicide bombing. The deaths of 25 security personnel and two civilians have been confirmed,” said deputy police superintendent Farid Khan.

“More than 60 security personnel, soldiers as well as policemen, and three civilians are injured,” he added.

The powerful blast damaged 10 vehicles of the army convoy and one police van parked near the post.

The security forces cordoned off the area and the injured were moved to a local military hospital. Some of the victims were reported in critical condition.

A Taliban spokesman Hakeemullah Mehsud, accepted responsibility for the carnage, speaking to various media organisations by telephone from some undisclosed location.

He said more such attacks were to follow if the Pakistani security forces did not withdraw from the tribal region, and if the US did not halt missile attacks carried out by drone aircraft which have killed dozens of second-tier Al Qaeda leaders and Taliban militants.

The Taliban have carried out dozens of attacks on Pakistan’s security personnel, civilians and political leaders over the last two years, because of Islamabd’s support for international efforts against terrorism.

Pakistan’s interior ministry told the lower house of parliament Friday that the first three months of 2009 saw 1,842 terrorist attacks across the country that killed at least 1,395 people.

Various groups of Islamic militants have gained control over almost the entire tribal region near the Afghan border and NWFP.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the suicide bombing in Hangu as a “cowardly act of terrorism” and promised a stern action against the perpetrators.

But lacking a well-articulated policy to deal with extremism and terrorism, Pakistan has oscillated between occasional military action and failed peace deals, while the militants’ strength and influence have increased.

Separately, four people, including a commander from a militant organisation Ansarul Islam, were killed in a remote-controlled bombing in Khyber tribal district, the Dawn television reported.

Ansarul Islam has a long history of animosity with another militant organisation Lashkar-e-Islam. Dozens were killed when the rival groups fought fierce battle in June 2008 for the dominance in Khyber district.

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