News / Asia

Suicide Attacks Kill 45 in Pakistan

The United States has condemned the attack. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the White House is greatly concerned by the attack.

Pakistani volunteers push a stretcher carrying an injured paramilitary soldier at a hospital after a huge suicide bomb attack on the US consulate in Peshawar on 5 Apr 2010
Pakistani volunteers push a stretcher carrying an injured paramilitary soldier at a hospital after a huge suicide bomb attack on the US consulate in Peshawar on 5 Apr 2010

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Ayaz Gul

Authorities in northwestern Pakistan say a coordinated gun-and-bomb attack targeting a U.S. Consulate and a suicide-bomb explosion have killed at least 45 people.  Pakistani leaders have condemned the attack, saying the country is determined to tackle militancy.

Local and American officials say terrorists used car bombs, grenades and automatic weapons to try to enter the heavily-guarded U.S diplomatic mission in Peshawar.

City police chief Liaqat Ali gave details to reporters on the scene.

The police officer says that after exploding a first car bomb to destroy the external security post, a second vehicle carrying two suicide bombers tried to make its way inside the American diplomatic mission.  But the pop-up barrier at the entrance stopped their movement and they detonated the second bomb.

Witnesses say several other militants dressed in military uniforms fired rocket-propelled grenades at the building, but security forces killed them.  U.S officials say two local security guards employed by the Consulate were among those killed in the attack, while a number of others were seriously wounded.

The attack happened hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a public rally in the Lower Dir district, about 200 kilometers from Peshawar.  Authorities say the blast instantly killed 40 people and wounded many others.

The Awami National Party had organized the rally to celebrate a government-supported proposal to change the name of the North West Frontier Province to Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa.  

The attacks in northwestern Pakistan took place just hours before President Asif Ali Zardari addressed the national parliament in Islamabad and vowed his country will defeat the militancy.

"Militancy and extremism have been the greatest threat to our national security in recent times. I assure you we will fight the militancy to the finish," he said.  "We will make peace with those willing to give up violence, but use force against those who challenge the write of the state."

The deadly attacks in northwestern parts of the country follow a relative calm and a significant decline in the frequency of insurgent violence.

Pakistani officials cite successful military operations against extremist forces in the country's tribal areas near the Afghan border for the reduction in terrorist attacks.  But analysts say Monday's coordinated attack on the U.S consulate in Peshawar indicates the insurgents are still capable of causing major damage.

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