Taliban bike bomb kills 12 in Pakistan

Taliban bike bomb kills 12 in Pakistan
# 18 May 2010 19:56 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. A bomb planted on a bicycle killed 12 people in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday in the latest assault on security forces battling Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants, APA reports quoting news.yahoo.com website.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted a senior police officer.
It came as President Barack Obama dispatched two senior security aides to Pakistan to investigate a failed New York car bombing this month that Washington blamed on the Pakistani Taliban.
At least one woman and a six-year-old girl were among nine civilians killed by Tuesday’s bomb, which exploded as a senior police officer drove through the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan, officials said.
"We have received 12 dead bodies and 10 injured," said Doctor Nasir Malik Akhtar, head of the casualty department at Dera Ismail Khan hospital, which had declared a state of emergency.
Doctor Qibla Khan Mehsud said a married couple and their six-year-old daughter were killed. "They appeared to be pedestrians," he told AFP.
The dead also included three policemen, among them an officer, Iqbal Khan, who led a particularly active campaign against the Taliban.
The Pakistani Taliban, which the United States accused of being involved in the failed plot to blow up Times Square on May 1, claimed responsibility.
"Iqbal Khan was so active against the Taliban. We planted that bomb and claim responsibility for this attack," Azam Tariq, the main spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), told AFP by telephone.
"We will target all such people. These sorts of policemen are on our hit list," he said, from an undisclosed location.
Police in Dera Ismail Khan said Khan had recovered a stash of arms, ammunition, mortar shells and a suicide vest from a forest in the district in March.
"He also arrested several militants," local police officer Rahmatullah Khan told AFP by telephone. "We think this was the basic reason that he was targeted."
A campaign of bombings blamed on Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants has killed more than 3,300 people since July 2007 across Pakistan.
Riaz Khan, a provincial police spokesman, told AFP that Tuesday’s bomb was planted on a bicycle and detonated by remote control.
Dera Ismail Khan district borders the lawless tribal district of South Waziristan, a flashpoint for sectarian and militant unrest where Pakistan launched a major anti-Taliban offensive last year.
Pakistani forces have fought against homegrown militants in much of the semi-autonomous tribal belt along the Afghan border, which Washington calls a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.
Much of the fighting has been concentrated against the TTP, which grabbed the global spotlight after the United States said there was evidence the group was behind the Times Square plot.
Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad allegedly left a car bomb near a theatre on May 1 and was arrested on board a plane bound for Dubai two days later.
The White House said US national security advisor General James Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta had left on a mission to investigate the Times Square plot.
"In light of the failed Times Square terrorist attack and other terrorist attacks that trace to the border region, we believe that it is time to redouble our efforts with our allies in Pakistan to close this safe haven and create an environment where we and the Pakistani people can lead safe and productive lives," a White House official told AFP.
"The US and Pakistan have a robust bilateral relationship based on shared interests. We are in frequent contact and this is one of many senior-level engagements that occur," the official added.
"It?s important the Pakistanis hear our latest thinking on the common threat we face from the tribal areas," said a second US official, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
Shahzad allegedly told interrogators that he travelled to Waziristan for bomb-making training.