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March 11, 2008
24 killed in Pakistan Suicide Bombing
This has al-Qaeda written all over it:
Massive suicide bombs ripped through a seven-story police headquarters and a house on Tuesday, killing at least 24 people and wounding more than 200 others in attacks that deepened Pakistan's security crisis. Al-Qaeda has promised to bring down the new government and attacking police stations, undermining confidence in their ability to protect the people, has been their favorite tactic recently. Almost as troubling as the bombing has been the reaction of major politicians:
The two blasts happened about 15 minutes apart in different districts of this eastern city. The first tore the facade from the Federal Investigation Agency building as staff were beginning their working day. City police chief Malik Mohammed Iqbal said a car packed with explosives was driven into a parking lot and detonated next to the building, which houses a department of the federal police's anti-terrorism unit.
Twenty-one people were killed, including 16 police, officials said. Doctors at Lahore hospitals said the wounded included 32 students who were hit by flying debris at a school near the police building.
A spokesman for the country's largest Islamic group, Jamaat-e-Islami, blamed Musharraf's friendship with the U.S. for a campaign of attacks inside Pakistan. Blaming America for these bombings is extremely worrisome. Anti-American sentiment is already running high and any attempt to directly blame America is sure to make it more difficult to work with Pakistan to clean out the border area with Afghanistan of Taliban and other extremist elements who are battling NATO forces.
"It started when we started having a friendship with America. There were no suicide bombings in this country before that," Syed Munawar Hasan told Dawn News television service. "Unless there are whole domestic and foreign policy changes, I don't think this is going to stop."
Musharraf condemned the "savage" bombings and said they "cannot deter" the government's resolve to fight the scourge of terrorism "with full force," according to a statement carried by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan.
After the attacks, small groups of city residents enraged by the bombing gathered on Lahore's main Mall Road, chanting "Musharraf is a dog, Musharraf is a pimp." Police were deployed to keep order but no trouble was reported
It probably also means that President Musharraf, who is largely seen as an American puppet, is on his way out to be replaced by a less America-friendly politician.