A bicycle bomb killed at least a dozen people — three of them police personnel — and left several injured in the Dera Ismail Khan area of Khyber-Pukhtoonkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province) on Tuesday. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — the Pakistan arm of the Taliban — has claimed responsibility for the attack and has warned of more such attacks on police personnel, according to the AFP.
Though the bomb was targeted at the police — specifically Deputy Superintendent of Police Iqbal Khan who had led several operations against the Taliban in the area — the dead include nine civilians. The bomb exploded when Mr. Iqbal Khan was driving through the outskirts of D. I. Khan.
D. I. Khan borders South Waziristan where the Army has been undertaking operations against the Taliban. The district was home to a number of Internally Displaced Persons after operations began in South Waziristan last year. The U.S. embassy has condemned the attack targeting “Pakistan's brave law enforcement personnel”. In a statement, the embassy said such brutal acts demonstrate the terrorists' agenda of fear and intimidation.
U.S. gives helicopters
Meanwhile, the U.S. government handed over two Bell 412 EP helicopters — valued at $24 million — to Pakistan on Tuesday to assist its military in the counter-insurgency efforts. The U.S. has also provided $20 million in associated spare parts, special tools and other equipment to support the choppers. Over the past three years, U.S. civilian and security assistance to Pakistan has totalled more than $4 billion including 14 F-16 fighter aircraft, 10 Mi-17 helicopters and 450 vehicles for the Frontier Corps.