The free pass given to al Qaeda in Western Pakistan is proving to be an expensive ticket. I realize that Waziristan has a special relationship with everyone in the region and their sensibilities are such that they require treatment in a culturally sensitive manner, however all things being equal, I think it is past time for us to start killing them anyway, just to show we care. Besides, I find those turbans particularly irritating.
41 killed in Pakistan attacks
Published: 19 July 2007
Militants bombed a Pakistan army convoy then hit it with gunfire, killing 17 soldiers and continuing a wave of violence that has seen 41 deaths in the past few days.
At least five suspected militants also died in clashes with security forces in North Waziristan, a Taliban and al-Qa'ida stronghold on the Afghan border where a disputed peace deal has collapsed and Pakistani troops have moved in.
Today, a suicide car bomber attacked a police academy in another frontier area in the north-west, killing up to six people, officials said.
Academy chief Attaullah Wazir said the blast in the town of Hangu, 45 miles south-west of Peshawar, killed two policemen. However, an official at Hangu's hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said five policemen and one passer-by had died.
In southern Pakistan, assailants detonated a bomb and fired on a convoy carrying Chinese workers near the port city of Karachi, police said. At least 13 Pakistanis were killed and 30 others were injured, but none of the Chinese was hurt.
The dead included police guards and civilians in the area. The motive was unclear.
Pakistan stepped up security for the estimated 2,000 to 3,000 Chinese nationals in the country after Beijing protested against the killing of three Chinese men in the north-western city of Peshawar.
The three are among more than 240 people killed this month in suicide attacks, bombings and shootings blamed on Islamic extremists and in a bloody army siege of radicals in Islamabad's Red Mosque.
President General Pervez Musharraf urged moderate Pakistanis, many of whom are pressing him to stand down and restore civilian rule, to help him take on the extremists. Still his military-led government today also challenged US claims that al-Qa'ida was regrouping near the Afghan frontier.
Adding to the tension, a suicide bomber killed 16 people on Tuesday at a rally for Pakistan's suspended chief justice, whose legal battle with Musharraf has galvanised opposition to military rule. A verdict in the case is expected as early as tomorrow.
Critics accuse Musharraf of leading the country toward civil war and using the crisis to shore up US support for his eight-year-old military regime. There is growing concern that this year's elections will be postponed.
However, Musharraf insisted yesterday that the vote would go ahead and dismissed speculation he would declare a state of emergency. He also claimed that al-Qa'ida was on the run.