Taliban kills 80 in Pakistan with Bin Laden 'revenge' blasts
Published 14/05/2011 | 05:00
THE Pakistani Taliban struck to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden yesterday with a double suicide bombing that killed at least 80 recruits at a military training centre.
The suicide bombers struck at the gates of the training centre in Shabqadar, in the northwest of Pakistan, shortly before 6am. Witnesses said the recruits -- most of whom were young -- were waiting to board buses after completing their training when two bombers on motorcycles detonated their explosives.
Police said 140 people were wounded, 40 of them seriously.
"We have carried out the attack to take revenge for Osama's death and will continue targeting military personnel as they are defending the US," said Ihsanullah Ihsan, a spokesman for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.
The site of the attack was a scene of devastation. More than a dozen buses were destroyed and charred remains were left on the ground.
"It was around 5.55am when we saw two persons riding on motorcycles -- then massive blasts that shattered the nearby shops," said Haji Ghufran, a tea-maker in the bazaar that runs beside the training centre.
He added: "There was blood and human flesh all around."
The target of the attack, the Frontier Constabulary, is a paramilitary force that polices the porous border with Afghanistan.
Its members are largely drawn from the Pashtun community, the same ethnic group that forms the bedrock of Taliban support, in the hope that local knowledge can be turned against the fundamentalists.
Hours after the bombing, a US drone aircraft fired missiles at a vehicle in the North Waziristan region on the Afghan border, killing five militants, according to Pakistani security officials.
The suicide attack is also a reminder of the high price paid by Pakistan at the hands of extremists. Officials estimate that 30,000 people have been killed by terrorists since September 11, 2001.
One of Bin Laden's wives seized in the raid on the Abbottabad compound has told her interrogators that the al-Qa'ida leader lived in Pakistan for seven years -- a disclosure that is deeply embarrassing for the Pakistani government.
The three widows seized have now been interviewed by US intelligence officers under the supervision of Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency.
The women were said to be openly "hostile" to the US officials and spoke only through the eldest of the three, according to CNN. The youngest, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah (29), was shot in the leg during the raid.
Islamabad said on Thursday that it would review counter-terrorism co-operation with the US following the raid, which has stoked anti-Western sentiment. (© Daily Telegraph)