Massive Bomb Hits Pearl Continental in Peshawar

A terrorist group stormed the parking lot of the Pearl Continental Hotel, killing or wounding guards and arranging to move a bomb-laden mini-truck in close to the hotel. A suicide bomber then detonated the truck and caused one wall of the hotel to collapse, creating a 15-foot deep crater. It was the most powerful bomb ever to be detonated in Peshawar, according to local police. 11 persons are known dead,and 50 are wounded. It was carried out by the same group that hit a police facility in Lahore recently (one that was close to the Inter-Services Intelligence offices). Presumably this bombing came in revenge for the government’s active campaign against the Taliban in the Malakand Division, which includes the Swat valley.

Prominent Pakistani senators supported the ongoing Pakistani military campaign against Taliban in Swat. One pointed out that the deployment of the military for domestic security tasks is constitutional, as long as the civilian government asks for this help. Since the Pakistan People’s Party at the federal level and the Awami National Party at the local level demanded the campaign, it is within the letter of the law. Awami National Party member Haji Muhammad Adeel rejected the proposal of some religious parties to halt the fighting and talk to the Taliban. He archly said that there would be plenty of time to talk once the Taliban are defeated. But he grew emotional when he denounced the reluctance of Punjab and Sindh provinces to take in displaced persons from the northwest.

The Pakistani military said Tuesday that it had found and destroyed an HQ of fugitive Taliban leader Mawlana Fazlulllah.

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