Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Suicide car bomber kills 4 troops in Pakistan

PESHAWAR – A suicide car bomber killed four security forces and wounded passing schoolchildren Tuesday in Pakistan’s volatile northwest, where the government is under pressure from Washington to crack down on militants.

Police said the attacker rammed his car into a vehicle carrying security forces on the outskirts of Peshawar, the capital of the embattled province where the military last week launched an operation to halt a push by the Taliban toward the capital.

The blast killed four troops and wounded eight of them, as well as wounding several schoolchildren, senior police official Safwat Ghayur said. Details were not immediately available.

Television images showed a shallow crater in the road close to a security checkpoint leading toward the nearby Khyber Pass. A badly damaged car and a mangled pickup truck stood nearby.

The latest suicide attack comes as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and President Barack Obama prepare to meet later this week in Washington for talks expected to address U.S. demands that Pakistan sharpen its fight against militants. Zardari is asking for more money to help his country’s battered economy and under-equipped security forces deal with the guerrillas.

Ghayur declined to speculate about who was responsible for Tuesday’s attack, but militants have claimed many such bombings since Pakistan joined Washington’s fight against al-Qaida and its allies after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in America.

Taliban militants have threatened a campaign of suicide blasts in Pakistan in retaliation for U.S. missile strikes into the northwest and for a string of military operations by Pakistani forces.

Government troops last week fought their way into Buner, a district just 60 miles (100 kilometers) from the capital, to reverse a Taliban takeover that particular triggered alarm in the West.

The army says it has killed over 100 militants as it attempts to drive the militants back into their stronghold in the neighboring Swat Valley.

The fighting has put severe strain on a controversial peace pact centered on Swat under which the government is introducing Islamic law in the surrounding Malakand division.

Washington has criticized the three-month-old deal. It wants Pakistan to crack down on the insurgents — not talk to them — and is unlikely to mourn if the agreement breaks down.

The army and Taliban have accused each other of violating the agreement in recent days.

On Monday, the military said militants tried to seize an electricity grid station in Swat before dawn.

Forty-six security personnel deployed at the grid station were “responding to the attack,” a military statement said, providing no further details. The spokesman for the Swat Taliban could not be reached for comment.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service