Militants attack Pakistan spy agency
Used by the CIA to track down Qaeda insurgents
ISLAMABAD - A suicide attack on the northwestern headquarters of Pakistan’s spy agency yesterday showed how militants have turned against an institution that once nurtured them and marked an escalation in their war against the US-backed government.
The truck bombing was the second this year against offices of the intelligence agency, which has helped the CIA track down and arrest many Al Qaeda suspects since 2001 but is still suspected by some Western officials of sympathizing with extremists, especially those fighting across the border in Afghanistan.
The early morning attack killed 10 people and devastated much of the complex in Peshawar, which has been hit by many of the near-daily attacks in recent weeks by insurgents avenging an army offensive against their stronghold along the nearby frontier with Afghanistan. Another 55 people were wounded.
About an hour later, a second suicide car bomber attacked a police station farther south, killing six people, said police official Tahir Shah. Five were policemen in Bakkakhel village in Bannu district; the other was a civilian.
As insurgent attacks and political turmoil have rocked the country, Congressman John F. Tierney, a Salem Democrat traveling in Islambad, told reporters that the situation was tenuous. In the past, instability has prompted Pakistan’s army to overthrow the civilian government to impose order. Tierney said that this time “the military is quite clearly indicating that there is no intention of a coup.’’
“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.’’
The campaign of suicide attacks began in 2007, when many people believed that negotiations with the militants were possible.