Wanderlust…

The International Reporting (and Life) Adventures of Vivian Salama

Suicide Bombing and Baitullah Mehsud makes his mark in New York

Posted by vmsalama on April 4, 2009

I’ve been a bit tunnel visioned this weekend on a project I’m working on and so I only heard in passing that Pakistani Taliban militant commander Baitullah Mehsud has claimed responsibility for the siege on the immigration office in Binghamton, New York. Accused of having masterminded the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Mehsud also claimed responsibility for last week’s attack on the police academy outside Lahore.  He attributed this violence on incessant drone attacks in Western Pakistan, which just today claimed another 13 lives.  President Barack Obama vows to continue these drone attacks — even without the blessing of the Pakistani government — so long as Taliban and Al Qaeda militants continue using the semi-autonomous border region with Afghanistan as a sanctuary.  

A report today from Bloomberg:

By Khalid Qayum

April 4 (Bloomberg) — An explosion killed six security personnel in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, about 4.5 kilometers (3 miles) from the office of President Asif Zardari.

The blast was a suicide bomb attack, Islamabad Deputy Police Chief Bin Yamin said by telephone from the city. Eleven other troopers were injured, he said.

The explosion, at the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary in northern Islamabad, was followed by gunfire, according to eyewitnesses. Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack.

“We could hear the bullets smacking into the houses around us,” Sohail Iqbal, the chief editor of Pakistan’s Online news agency, said in a telephone interview from the city. “The shooting lasted for eight to 10 minutes.”

The top commander of Pakistan’s Taliban movement, Baitullah Mehsud, vowed in a telephone interview with reporters four days ago to carry out an attack in Islamabad, as well as in the U.S., in retaliation for American missile strikes by Predator drone aircraft in the Pashtun ethnic belt of western Pakistan, near the Afghan border.

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