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Pakistani police, target of new suicide bombing

Latest update : 2008-08-23

At least eight policemen died in the bombing of their quarters in Pakistan's northwestern Swat Valley. A wave of terrorist attacks keeps the country on high alert while the rift between the two ruling coalition partners widens.

MINGORA - A suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a police station in northwestern Pakistan's Swat Valley on Saturday, killing at least eight policemen and wounding 10, police said.

A spokesman for Taliban militants in the valley claimed responsibility for the blast and vowed to carry out more strikes if the government did not stop military operations in the region.

"A lot of people are still under the rubble. We have recovered eight bodies," said Subhan Khan, a senior police officer in the valley.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan is on the front line of the U.S.-led war against terrorism and al Qaeda-linked militants have unleashed a wave of violence across the country over the past year against the security forces.

The violence, combined with political uncertainty, has helped undermine investor confidence and send the country's financial markets on a downward spiral.

Violence subsided when a coalition government that came to power after an election last February opened talks with militants.

Authorities in North West Frontier Province reached a peace deal in May with militants in Swat, which until last year had been one of the country's main tourist destinations.

But attacks intensified again across the northwest after top Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud suspended talks in June.

On Thursday, two suicide bombers killed about 70 people outside the country's main defence industry complex near Islamabad.

The resignation of staunch U.S. ally Pervez Musharraf as president on Monday has raised questions about the government's commitment to tackle violence.

But while Musharraf's support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism was deeply unpopular, the government has vowed to keep up efforts to fight the militants.
 

Date created : 2008-08-23

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