Attacks kill 16 in Pakistan as spy agency targeted

A suicide bomber in a pickup truck attacked the northwestern regional headquarters of the Pakistani spy agency overseeing a campaign against militancy, killing 10 people today. Another suicide assault in the area killed six more.

The bombings were the latest in a string of attacks on security forces, civilians and Western targets since the government launched an offensive in mid-October against militants in the border region of South Waziristan, where al-Qaida and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding out.



The attack on the Inter-Services Intelligence agency building occurred in the city of Peshawar, which has borne the brunt of the militants' retaliation against the army offensive. A wave of bombings in the last week alone in and around the city has killed more than 50 people.



"This is a guerrilla war," said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister for North West Frontier Province, where Peshawar is the capital. "We will continue our action against these militant terrorists. That is the only way we can survive."



Security forces guarding the intelligence complex opened fire on a pickup laden with explosives, but the bomber was able to detonate his payload, said an intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.



The early morning blast, heard across the city, destroyed much of the three-story building and killed 10 people, including seven who worked for the spy agency, the army said in a statement. Another 55 people were wounded, officials said.



"I was going to work when the blast took place and shattered the windows of our vehicle," said witness Abdul Rahim Khan. "Thank God we are safe. There were a lot of dead bodies lying around."



About an hour later, a second suicide car bomber attacked a police station farther south near the Afghan border, killing six people, said police official Tahir Shah. Five of the dead were policemen working at the station in Bakkakhel village in Bannu district; the other was a civilian. Another 27 people were wounded, he said.



The station is close to the border with North Waziristan, an area in Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal region where officials believe many militants have fled to escape the recent army offensive.



The bombings took place as U.S. National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones visited the country for talks with top political and security officials, including military chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.



The government has vowed the surging militant attacks will not dent the country's resolve to pursue the operation in South Waziristan, where officials say the most deadly insurgent network in Pakistan is based. The army claims to be making good progress, though on Friday reported the loss of 12 soldiers over the last 24 hours, one of its largest single-day losses since the campaign began.



The U.S. has urged Pakistan to persevere with its South Waziristan offensive because militants have used the area as a base to attack Western troops across the border in Afghanistan.



Friday's attack in Peshawar was the second to target a spy agency complex this year. A suicide squad using guns, grenades and a van packed with explosives attacked a police and an ISI building in Lahore in May, killing 30 people.



The ISI has been involved in scores of covert operations in the northwest against al-Qaida targets since 2001, when many militant leaders crossed into the area following the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan. The region is seen as a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden.



Its offices in Peshawar are on the main road leading from the city to Afghanistan. The agency was instrumental in using CIA money to train jihadi groups to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Despite assisting in the fight against al-Qaida since then, some Western officials consider the agency an unreliable ally and allege it still maintains links with militants.



Taliban and al-Qaida fighters are waging a war against the Pakistani government because they deem it un-Islamic and are angry about its alliance with the United States. The insurgency began in earnest in 2007, and attacks have spiked since the run-up to the offensive in South Waziristan.



A car bomb exploded in a market in Peshawar at the end of October, killing at least 112 people in the deadliest attack in Pakistan in over two years. On Oct. 10, a team of militants staged a raid on the army headquarters close to the capital, Islamabad, taking soldiers hostages in a 22-hour standoff that left nine militants and 14 others dead.



Militants have also targeted convoys in Pakistan delivering supplies to soldiers in Afghanistan.



Attackers fired rockets at a group of tankers near the southwestern city of Quetta on Friday that were delivering fuel to U.S. and NATO troops. One driver was killed and five tankers were torched, said local police chief Bedar Ali Magsi.



About 80 percent of all nonessential supplies to Western forces in Afghanistan are trucked through Pakistan after landing at the Arabian Sea port of Karachi. NATO and U.S. officials say the attacks do not affect their operations.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education require a ...

SEN Teacher - Hull

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are recruiting for spe...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking EY...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHER WE CAN HELP ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor