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Pakistani Police Foil Bomb Plot Near Capital City


Pakistani police say they have foiled a planned bomb attack involving three alleged suicide bombers, three vehicles and hundreds of kilograms of explosives. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Islamabad that despite Monday's bomb attack on the Danish Embassy and Friday's thwarted terror plot, officials say they continue to believe that striking peace deals in Pakistan's pro-Taliban tribal areas will reduce violence in the country.

Police said they discovered the bomb-rigged vehicles during an early morning raid in Rawalpindi. Pakistani media later reported that Interior Minister Rehman Malik said six people had been arrested in connection with the plot - including three people who planned to be suicide bombers.

The discovery followed claims by an al-Qaida representative in Afghanistan that the terrorist network carried out Monday's suicide bomb attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad.

Pakistani officials have insisted that such bomb attacks, which killed thousands of people across the country in 2007, would decrease once the government struck peace deals with militant groups in the autonomous tribal regions.

A U.S. newspaper reported Thursday that Pakistani officials told their U.S. counterparts that they have broken off peace talks with the largest Taliban militant group lead by fugitive commander Baitullah Mehsud. But Maulvi Omer, a spokesman for Mehsud, told VOA Friday that the talks are continuing.

"We are very satisfied with the outcome of the talks because the government has realized that the policies of President Musharraf were responsible for the problems that the country was facing," he said. "The new government understands that negotiations - not force - can resolve these problems."

Pakistan's foreign minister visited Kabul Friday where he tried to reassure Afghan officials that the talks would not lead to more violence in Afghanistan - unlike previous peace deals with militants.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he told Afghanistan's foreign minister that the Pakistani government wants greater cooperation with Afghanistan against militant groups.

"I have assured the foreign minister that the government of Pakistan is engaging politically with the saner elements," he said. "We are engaging with that element that is peace loving and wants stability in their own regions. We will not engage with terrorists."

Qureshi suggested the two countries work together on securing their shared border, including building fences, registering vehicles and using high-tech devices such as biometric identification.

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