The Zeitgeist Politics

Global Politics with a focus on The Middle East

Dial three for terror in AfPak: Kabul and Peshawar attacked

with 2 comments

afghanistan_pakistan I can’t recall a single day – for weeks and months now – that wasn’t accompanied with news of attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But today – even by the terribly low expectations one has of a day free of news that makes you want to kill yourself – has been a horrible, horrible, horrible day.

Kabul saw two attacks this morning: One, on a UN guesthouse in Kabul, that was a deadly raid that saw six UN staff members being killed amongst the 12 casualties (three of which include the attackers) as the attackers stormed the house after being embroiled in a gunbattle with UN guards.  The second, was rockets being fired at the Serena Hotel, which houses press personnel and is close to Karzai’s residence. The Taliban took responsibility for both attacks, citing that it was an ‘assault on the presidential election’.

The third attack took place in Pakistan in Peshawar – a city that has seen a number of attacks in the past few weeks alone, a number of which have happened during / before Friday prayers. A car bomb exploded in Meena Bazar – said to be around 120 KGs of explosives – and killed 87 people, injuring over a 150.The visuals from the scene are horrifying: shops set on fire and a building collapsed, trapping people under the rubble. The death toll literally rose within hours – from 3 to 10 to 14 to 40 and above – and women and children are reported to form the major part of casualties.

UPDATED: The death toll has reached 104. Meanwhile Al-Qaeda and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have denied any responsibility for the attack.

On a side note, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on her first visit (as Secretary) to Pakistan today.


The sun isn't shining on AfPak - Kabul's skyline today (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

On a personal note, I don’t think I have ever been so scared to live in Pakistan. I have lived through the best and the worst of times in this country but the cloud of fear has never loomed so heavily. And I have thought several times before that we had reached the bottom of the pit and it couldn’t get any worse – but every day we seem to fall a little deeper in. It has gotten to the point where when I imagine the country’s map, I see a big sign that says ‘CLOSED FOR LIFE’ hanging on it. And I cannot seem to get this song to stop playing constantly in my head.


Written by Saba Imtiaz

October 28, 2009 at 10:27 pm

2 Responses

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  1. A telling excerpt from the NY Times:

    Azam Khan, the senior most civil servant in the city, said there were inadequate numbers of police.

    “The police strength of Peshawar cannot secure everything,” he said. The militants had penetrated a three-ring police cordon around the city, he said.

    With everything happening, lapses in security are simply unacceptable. It’s just so awful.


    October 29, 2009 at 1:11 am

    • If you look at it from their perspective – and I wish I knew more about how security arrangements in Peshawar are like – you’re looking at a badly paid, untrained police force (for combating terrorism) who in several cases do not even receive proper compensation for injuries etc. I think its more of an intelligence failure, and this is the problem we’ve seen before, where intel wasn’t passed around to all concerned parties and so they just weren’t prepared. Sometimes I wonder why there just hasn’t been a declaration of war in the entire country already.

      Saba Imtiaz

      October 29, 2009 at 4:01 am

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