Pak Affairs

Taliban claim PRC blast as tit for tat of Bajuar strike

PESHAWAR: Pakistani Taliban militants on Monday said that the weekend suicide attack that killed 13 people was carried out in revenge for a suspected US missile strike on a rebel hideout in Bajuar. The suicide bomber struck near an army base in the northwestern city of Mardan on Sunday night, in the deadliest attack since a new government came to power in late March engaging militants in thorough talks to strike a peace deal in the province. “Our local Taliban leaders in Mardan have telephoned us and claimed responsibility for the attack,” Maulvi Omar, the spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan Taliban Movement), told a foreign news agency. “The Mardan attack was in reaction to Damadola,” he said, referring to a missile strike last week that killed 14 people in the town of Damadola in Pakistan’s tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.

The Pakistani military has accused US-led coalition forces based in Afghanistan of launching the missile from a pilot less drone and lodged a complaint over the violation of its territorial sovereignty. Pakistan’s new government launched negotiations with Taliban militants based in the tribal belt after defeating US-backed President Pervez Musharraf political allies in February general elections.

The talks have led to a marked drop in suicide attacks in the country, although the United States has expressed concern, saying that any deal could let the rebels regroup. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said his government would not negotiate with militants unless they laid down their arms, a day after meeting US President George W. Bush for the first time.-SANA

About the author

Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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