December 2, 2009


Suicide Blast at Pakistan Navy Base

Al Jazeera
December 2, 2009

A suicide bomber has attacked Pakistan's navy headquarters, killing one security guard and wounding four others, police say.

The attacker detonated his explosives after he was stopped at the entrance to the heavily fortified naval complex at around 1.30pm (0830GMT) on Wednesday.

Bin Yameen, a senior police official, said: "The bomber was on foot. We have reports of four wounded."

Fazil Asghar, Islamabad's police commissioner, said the security guard was killed after he asked the man to remove his coat.

Witnesses say the bomber was a teenager.

Security forces quickly cordoned off the area. The naval installation suffered no damage because it was a safe distance from the gate, officials said.

The attack comes a day after a suicide bomber killed a provincial politician, detonating his explosives as he received guests at his home in Pakistan's northwest Swat valley.

More than a dozen people were wounded in that attack in Kanju town, police said.

Khan, 59, was a member of the Awami National Party, part of a coalition that rules the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

The attacker struck as guests gathered to mark the end of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, and the force of the blast damaged parts of the house and grounds.

Kanju town was the former headquarters of Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban.

Both attacks come during a Pakistani army offensive in Swat which began in April.

Pakistan's Concerns Over U.S. Plan

Al Jazeera
December 2, 2009

Pakistani government officials have expressed concern about President Barack Obama's new Afghan strategy, which calls for Pakistan to step up its co-operation against the Taliban in exchange for a pledge of a long-term partnership.

The Pakistani foreign affairs ministry issued a cautious response on Wednesday that stressed the "need for clarity" in the new US policy.
"Pakistan looks forward to engaging closely with [the] US in understanding the full importance of the new strategy and to ensure that there would be no adverse fallout on Pakistan," the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Pakistan and the US need to closely co-ordinate their efforts to achieve shared objectives. There is certainly the need for clarity and co-ordination on all aspects of the implementation of the strategy."
In an address to unveil a new strategy for the eight-year conflict in Afghanistan, Obama said on Tuesday a cancer had taken root in Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan and promised US help to end it.

Obama's announcement has raised fears that Pakistan could be further destabilised by a reinvigorated military campaign in next-door Afghanistan, complicating Islamabad's own battle against the Taliban.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the first reinforcements will land in southern Afghanistan by Christmas, kicking off an 18-month surge that the administration plans to begin reversing in July 2011 when it transfers responsibility to the Afghan government.

A growing tide of bombings and suicide attacks, meanwhile, have killed hundreds of people in Pakistan in the past several months since the Pakistani army launched a major offensive against Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan.

Earlier on Wednesday, Islamabad was shaken by a suicide bombing at the entrance to National Naval Headquarters in a highly guarded area.

A teenage boy blew himself up as a guard approached him. Officials said the blast killed the bomber and two guards.

Pakistan fears a US troop surge in Afghanistan would force fighters to flee to its border areas, particularly in the southwestern Baluchistan province where the government is already struggling to end a low-level insurgency by tribal fighters.

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