Taliban target Pakistan counter-terrorism officer; 8 killed
REZAUL H LASKAR/PTI
Karachi/Islamabad, Sep 19: In a brazen attack, a Taliban suicide bomber today rammed his 300 kg explosive-laden vehicle into the house of a senior Pakistani counter-terrorism officer killing at least eight persons including six policemen, a mother and her child.
Special Superintendent of Police Chaudhry Aslam, who was the traget, had a miraculous escape in the early morning attack that flattened his house in the posh Defence area of Karachi.
Six of those killed in the attack, that took place at 7:30 AM, were the officer's bodyguards. Others included a woman and her child.
The banned terror group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack and has given a list of five officers who they will target.
Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan said the attack was carried out to avenge "Taliban brothers who were killed" by Aslam.
"We will also kill the other friends of the SSP, namely Fiyaz Khan, Raja Ummar Khitab, Mazhar Mashwani, Khurram Waris and Farooq Awan," he said.
People should not go near government officers, especially employees of intelligence agencies, as they could become "victim of our attacks" as the Taliban wanted to avoid civilian casualties, Ihsan said.
The blast, which was heard from several kilometres away, damaged several nearby houses and cars parked in the area. The explosion caused a 10-foot deep and 25-foot wide crater.
According to sources, Aslam had earlier received threats from various militant groups including the Taliban.
Aslam was part of a special unit that conducted operations against militants and criminal gangs and he had captured several persons linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
"I will not be cowed. I will teach a lesson to generations of militants...I did not know that these terrorists were such cowards that they would attack sleeping children," said Aslam speaking to the media.
He called the attack a cowardly act. The officer and his family were shifted to an undisclosed location soon after the attack.
Police officials said the bomber had used 300 kg of explosives.
Debris from the officer's home was hurled over a large distance. A plume of smoke was seen rising into the sky.
Several schools and educational institutions are located near the officer's home and the blast was followed by a traffic snarl as parents rushed to the area to pick up their children.
The woman killed in the blast was a school teacher while the dead child was her 12-year-old son, officials at Jinnah Hospital said.
Karachi has witnessed several high-profile terrorist attacks, including one in May on the Mehran naval airbase that killed 10 security personnel.
Aslam himself was the target of another attack that killed two of his bodyguards.
In a related development, Geo News channel reported that the federal Interior Ministry had warned the Sindh government of attacks on Aslam and key facilities in a letter sent on August 27.
Intelligence agencies had warned authorities in Sindh that terrorists could carry out a major attack at any time between 6 am and 9 am on September 18 or 19, the channel reported.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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