The Taliban Movement of Pakistan, headquartered in South Waziristan, struck at Rawalpindi again on Friday. Two militants scaled a ladder to drop into a mosque in the city’s military residential area and then to shoot worshipers before detonating their belt bombs. They killed 40 and wounded nearly 100. Among the injured were former high-ranking military officers, now retired.
The TMP struck against this target to take revenge on the Pakistani military for launching a campaign against them in the tribal area of South Waziristan. By striking at a military residential area, they knew they were targeting military dependents and retirees, the most vulnerable members of the military community.
It should be noted that there is a strong rural/urban dimension to this conflict, with Pashtuns in Waziristan’s rural badlands hitting out at a densely-populated city.
Security measures closing Saddar and Qissah Khwani Bazaars in Peshawar may have prevented yet another bombing in that city.
Jang in Urdu reports that the “Road of Salvation” security operation in Waziristan is ongoing, and that in the latest military action 6 militants were killed and one member of the Pakistani security forces was killed. Wali ur-Rahman, the leader of the Taliban Movement of Pakistan, in South Waziristan is therefore under siege, helping to account for the desperate act of terrorism in Rawalpindi.
Jang reports in Urdu (scroll down) that Interior Minister Rahman Malik said that Pakistan’s clerics were preparing a fatwa against the extremists, to be released this month. He also said that extra security would be granted to Shiite religious centers for their rites during the holy month of Muharram (the extremists are hyper-Sunnis and may attack the Shiites in this period, when Shiites mourn the martyrdom of the Imam Husayn, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad). He also said that carrying weapons in public would be banned.
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