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Blasts Rock Peshawar, Pakistan


Terrorists have struck again in Pakistan, with two bombs killing at least 10 people and wounding more than 70 others at an outdoor market in Peshawar. Meanwhile, the Taliban has taken responsibility for a car bombing that killed at least 23 people Wednesday in Lahore, calling it a revenge attack.

Senior Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud told news agencies militants had been planning to target Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, for a long time.

Hakimullah Mehsud is deputy to Taliban leader Baitullah Mesud, believed to have masterminded the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. He said Wednesday's attack in Lahore was retaliation and to expect more.

Security lapse


Former military official and defense analyst Talat Masood says the magnitude of the Lahore attack illustrates a serious lapse in security and a lack good intelligence.

"The security culture is not at all compatible with the type of threats that Pakistan is facing in the sense that the police and the security agencies are not truly trained to handle such incidents," he said. "I think it is a question of training, it is a question of equipment, it is a question of culture and mindset."

Masood says the area where the militants struck, outside a police emergency-response unit on one of Lahore's busiest streets, could have been better cordoned off with multiple zones of security. He says multiple rings of security would not have allowed a vehicle to park so close to the building, which was flattened by the explosion.

Response criticized

Masood says another clue that shows how unprepared Pakistan's security forces are is how they respond after an attack.

"The response after an event, you can see, is extremely chaotic," he said. "Immediately those places must be cordoned off. No outsiders must be allowed. All forensic evidence must be preserved."

Masood adds the public rarely hears or is informed of the perpetrators of such attacks being caught or brought to justice. With the threat of more attacks looming, the Pakistani army says it is up to the task of protecting the nation's cities and is ready to ward off any future terrorist attacks.

Shortly after Wednesday's attack, the government announced rewards for information leading to the capture of 21 Taliban-linked militant leaders, dead or alive.
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