As many as 24 people were killed and 70 injured in two suicide attacks in quick succession at the residence of the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Frontier Corps (FC) in the high security Civil Lines area of Quetta on Wednesday morning.
According to the police, the first suicide bomber rammed his car into a FC vehicle parked outside the DIG's residence. In the melee that followed, the second bomber entered the residence and detonated himself. The dead includes the wife of the DIG and a FC officer.
Since the house is located near the Commissioner Office, traffic was heavy at the time of the attacks and several security personnel — present in the area in strength in view of the restive nature of the entire Balochistan province — were killed in the twin blasts.
An identification card retrieved from the remains of one of the bombers revealed him to be an Afghan national. Given the intensity of the blasts and the nature of injuries sustained by some of those battling for their lives in hospitals across the city, police fear that the death toll could rise.
The Taliban have reportedly claimed responsibility for the blasts. The attack is being linked to the role played by the FC in nabbing three al-Qaeda operatives in Quetta recently. The announcement of their arrest was made on Monday by the Army without disclosing when exactly the trio were picked up.
According to the Army, the FC had coordinated with the ISI in the “intelligence driven operation'' to nab the three operatives including Younis Al Mauritani who was reported to have been tasked directly by Osama bin Laden to target U.S. and European economic facilities. The Army also acknowledged the technical support provided by the CIA in these arrests.
U.S., U.K. condemn
The U.S. and the U.K. have condemned the attacks through their respective diplomatic missions in Islamabad. In a statement, the U.S. Embassy said: “Nothing can justify immoral and indiscriminate attacks against innocents including Pakistan's security forces.'' Saluting Pakistan's “brave security forces'', the statement reiterated U.S. resolve to stand with the people of Pakistan as they work for a future free of the violence and destruction wrought by al Qaeda and associated groups.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague in a related statement described the attack as a stark reminder of the threat Pakistan faces from terrorism. “The UK is committed to standing together with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism in all its forms and we will continue to work together to counter this threat.”