Suicide bomber kills 30 people; Pakistan

Subscribe
US
India
Global
A suicide bomber killed 30 people outside a bank near Pakistan's capital on Monday, as the U.N. said spreading violence had forced it to pull out some expatriate staff and suspend long-term development work in areas along the Afghan border

A suicide bomber killed 30 people outside a bank near Pakistan's capital on Monday, as the U.N. said spreading violence had forced it to pull out some expatriate staff and suspend long-term development work in areas along the Afghan border. Islamist insurgents have carried out numerous attacks in Pakistan in recent weeks, killing some 250 people in retaliation for an army offensive in the Pakistani Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan, also along the frontier shared with neighbouring Afghanistan.
Several U.N. personnel have been among those killed, and the organisation's decision to suspend development work could imperil Western goals of reducing the allure of extremism by improving Pakistan's economy. Monday's attack in Rawalpindi, a garrison city just a few miles (kilometres) from Islamabad, occurred as many people waited outside the National Bank on pay day to could collect their salaries. The bank is close to the army's headquarters, and a majority of the people waiting in line were from the military, said one soldier wounded in the attack.
Militants raided the headquarters last month in a siege that lasted 22 hours and left 23 people dead.
"I parked my car in the bank car park, and my child was sitting inside," Mohammad Saleem said.
"Now they're not giving me permission to go and look, and I don't know where my child is."
The attacker rode a motorbike to the scene, and the 30 people killed included military personnel, Rawalpindi police chief Rao Iqbal said. Some 45 others were wounded.
Pakistan's president, prime minister and other top officials condemned the blast but vowed to continue the offensive in South Waziristan, an impoverished and underdeveloped tribal region next to Afghanistan where al-Qaida is believed to have hide-outs.
The U.S. supports the operation because it believes South Waziristan is a safe haven for Islamist extremists involved in attacks on Western troops in Afghanistan.
Washington has also stepped up its efforts to use development aid in a broader battle against spreading militancy. The U.S. government recently approved 7.5 (b) billion dollars in aid over five years to improve Pakistan's economy, education and other sectors of society.
But the U.N. decision to suspend long-term development work in Pakistan's tribal areas and its North West Frontier Province could frustrate Washington's goal. The U.N. made its decision after losing 11 of its personnel in attacks in Pakistan this year, including last month's bombing of the World Food Programme's office in Islamabad that killed five people.
U.N. workers were also among the 11 killed in a June suicide bombing of the Pearl Continental Hotel in the main northwest city of Peshawar, and a veteran U.N. official was shot dead while resisting kidnappers at a northwest Pakistan refugee camp in July. The world body will reduce the level of international staff in the country and confine its work to emergency, humanitarian relief, and security operations, and also "any other essential operations as advised by the secretary-general," the organisation said in a statement.
The U.N. has been deeply involved in helping Pakistan deal with refugee crises that have popped up due to army offensives against militants in the northwest. The organisation also operates a wide range of programmes that address everything from agriculture to education to governance. A U.N. spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the organisation is still determining which programmes will be suspended and how many staffers will be withdrawn from the country.

Newsfeed
0
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
loader
Chats
Заголовок открываемого материала