By Mahvish Akhtar, MMNS Pakistan Correspondent
Three blasts only a few minutes apart jolted the city of Peshawar on Monday April 5th 2010. The attacks were aimed at the highly secure area of the American Consulate. Heavily armed militants in two vehicles tried to storm the US consulate. The attackers were also loaded with guns, grenades and suicide vests. Gun fires were heard and were reports said that the militants and the guards had a small gun battle as well. Two guards employed by the US Consulate were killed in the attacks. Four attackers also died at the scene. Eight people died in this incident and 33 others were injured. Pakistani Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the attack saying that this is revenge for the drone attacks on the militants in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan. They also said that if things did not change more attacks of this nature will be seen on American targets in the near future.
Pakistani security officials said the assailants planned the attack methodically, using local scouts and safe houses, smuggling explosives into a dump site near the consulate and assembling the car bombs locally.
Intelligence agents suspect the bombers infiltrated Peshawar either west from the nearby Khyber tribal district, approximately 30 minutes drive from the US embassy, or northwest from the neighboring tribal district of Mohmand.
The North West Frontier Province police Chief Malik Naveed said, â€œIt was a well planned attack. The militants collected their material dumped somewhere near their target area before launching the attack on the US consulate.â€
While there was no comment from the American Embassy in Islamabad a senior police official told AFP hat American security officers were in Peshawar and also investigating this incident.
â€œWe have traced the engine number and model of the cars used in the blasts and we have collected evidence and sent it to the relevant laboratories,â€ said Peshawar bomb disposal chief Shafqat Malik.
According to Mr. Naveed because of the resistance in the gun fight the attackers ended up blasting their vehicles 25 to 30 meters away from their original target. He also added that, â€œWe did not let them enter the consulate building and that was the biggest achievement of the security forces.
About the current investigation Mr. Neveed remarked that, â€œWe have set up three investigation teams and we are hopeful we will soon get some leads.â€
Mr. Naveed continued to remark that attacks like these signify that the Taliban have regrouped to some extent and are banning together against American attacks. However, he also commented that new suicidal bombers are probably scarce for the Taliban and that might put a damper on their plans.
â€œThey do not have the kind of facilities that they had in South Waziristan where they were training a large number of suicide bombers. Some of those bombers are still with them, but the new crop is not coming.â€
â€œThe Taliban may be giving a message to the Americans. If the Americans undertake action like in Marjah and plan to take action around Kandahar, therefore the Taliban can retaliate wherever it is possible,â€ he said.
Also on Monday April 5th 2010, ANP rally was hit by a suicide bomber. ANPâ€™s Lower Dir president Haji Bahadar Khan was delivering his speech at the â€˜Jashn-i-Khyber-Pakhtunkhwaâ€™ rally when the blast took place. Over 500 ANP leaders and activists were attending the celebration. In this incident around 47 people were killed and 37 were injured. The number is still indefinite since there could be bodies buried beneath the rubble.
Three day mourning period was announced for the events of Monday in Dir and Peshawar.
On Tuesday April 6, 2010, the Police killed 2 men including one suspected suicide bomber. Senior Police Officer Liaquat Ali said one of the militants was wearing a suicide jacket.