On yet another bloody day for Pakistan, two deadly suicide attacks in the North-West Frontier Province claimed 18 lives, left more than 80 wounded and destroyed the regional headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence, while in Balochistan, suspected Taliban militants set ablaze NATO supply trucks on their way to Afghanistan on Friday.
The attacks coincided with the visit of the United States National Security Adviser General (retired) James Jones, who held a series of meetings with government leaders and the Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, focusing on U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
A brief military statement said General Jones and the Pakistan Army chief discussed “matters of mutual interest”.
According to a detailed statement from Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s office, he told the U.S. official that while Pakistan was fully committed to operations against terror on its soil, Pakistani forces were “overstretched because of continuous tension” on the eastern border.
“It [is] imperative that the U.S. should be sensitive about Pakistan’s core interests i.e. Kashmir, water issue, Indian military capability and the requirements of balance of power in South Asia,” the statement quoted Mr. Gilani saying.
“The U.S., hence, has to use its influence with India for resumption of composite dialogue and lessening of tension with Pakistan to enable Pakistan to concentrate its attention and energies in the fight against militancy and terrorism.”
Earlier in the day, a suicide bomber crashed an explosives-packed van into the barricades around the fortified Inter-Services Intelligence headquarters in Peshawar, killing 10 people and wounding more than 60.
The three-storeyed building was partially destroyed in the bombing. The military said six military officials and three civilian employees were among those killed. According to the police, the van was packed with 300 kg of explosives.
Television footage showed thick black smoke rising out of the rubble of the building. Schools in Peshawar were closed after the attack.
In a similar attack, a bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a police station in Bannu, killing seven policeman and one civilian.
In Balochistan, meanwhile, militants set ablaze five trucks carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan and killed one driver in the early hours of Friday. The trucks were among a dozen parked at a truck station at Bolan pass, 70 km south of the provincial capital Quetta, waiting to cross into Afghanistan through the Chaman border.