Saturday, December 22, 2012

Suicide blast in Pakistan kills 9 among Bashir Bilour Provincial Minister

At least nine people among Senior Minister Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa Bashir Bilour were killed in a suicide blast in Peshawar on Saturday. Several others sustained injuries in the blast.

According to reports, the blast took place very close to a political gathering of Awami National Party (ANP), one of the main allies of Pakistan People's Party in federal and provincial minister, in Qissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar.

KPK member Nighat Orakzai, while talking to media persons, has confirmed the casualty of Bashir Bilour.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility of the suicide attack.

Bashir Ahmed Bilour's Personal Secretary, Noor Babu, and SHO Kabli Police Station Sattar Khattak also among the deceased.

Rescue teams ferried the bodies and injured to Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar.

Bilour breathed his last while he was undergoing treatment in Operation Threater.

Hospital Administration of the Lady Reading Hospital has also confirmed the death of Bashir Bilour.

Hospital sources said that death toll may rise as several injured were in critical condition.

President Asif Ali Zardari and ANP leadership strongly condemned the blast.

Updated :   Saturday  December  22 , 2012  6:38:37 PM


from VOA News:

December 22, 2012

Pakistani officials say a suicide blast has killed nine people, including a top provincial minister, at a political rally held by a party that opposes the Taliban.

The bomber struck Saturday at a meeting of the Awami National Party in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Among those killed was Bashir Ahmed Bilour, number two to the chief minister in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and a senior police officer.  About 20 people were wounded.

The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the attack, has been known to target members of the Awami National Party.

In other news, Pakistan's defense minister said his country's political and military ties with the United States are improving after nearly two years of setbacks.

Naveed Qamar told VOA that bilateral understanding has also gotten better on how to counter terrorism in Pakistani border regions and promote reconciliation in Afghanistan.

In the latest sign of improved ties, the Obama administration notified Congress earlier this month it will reimburse Pakistan nearly $700 million for the cost of anti-terrorism operations near the Afghan border.

Qamar told VOA Pakistan hopes the U.S. will soon unfreeze other promised aid.

U.S. payments to Pakistan were held up because of diplomatic tensions related to the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden and the cross-border NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.  Both incidents took place last year.

The U.S. has been critical of Pakistan's refusal to mobilize troops against members of the Haqqani network in Pakistan's North Waziristan border region, from where militants have conducted cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.
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Suicide bombers attack mobile phone firms in Nigeria

(Reuters) - Two suicide car bombers attacked the offices of mobile phone operators India's Airtel and South Africa's MTN on Saturday in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, killing themselves but no civilians, police said.

Islamist sect Boko Haram has previously targeted phone firms, blowing up telephone masts and offices, saying the companies help the security forces catch its members.

"The one who hit the Airtel office was shot by military men before the bomb exploded ... at the MTN office the car rammed into the fence but no civilians were killed," Ibrahim Idris, the chief of police in Kano, told Reuters.

Airtel Nigeria's parent company Bharti Airtel, India's top cellphone operator, gave no immediate comment.

The national emergency agency confirmed the bombing and said it was not aware of any civilian casualties. The security forces have played down the death toll in previous bombings.

At least 2,800 people have died in fighting in the largely Muslim north since the sect launched an uprising against the government in 2009, watchdog Human Rights Watch says.

The sect wants to impose strict Islamic law on a country of 160 million people split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims.

The group has previously targeted churches on Christmas Day and security has been increased in all the major northern cities, although security experts say given the scale of Christian worship in Nigeria they cannot protect everyone.

Kano, Nigeria's second largest city after the southern commercial-hub Lagos, was the site of Boko Haram's most lethal attack which killed at least 186 people in January in coordinated bombings and shootings.

By Augustine Madu
KANO, Nigeria | Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:18am GMT
(Additional reporting by Isaac Abrak in Kaduna; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Janet Lawrence)

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3 wounded in explosion in eastern Ghazni city

A relatively heavy explosion rocked eastern Ghanzi province of Afghanistan early Saturday morning.

The incident took place in eastern Ghazni city after explosives packed in a cycle went off in old market area.

Eye witnesses in the area said at least two people including a woman and a man were injured following the blast.

Provincial governor spokesman Fazal Sabawon confirming the report said the main target of the explosion was an Afghan intelligence official.

He confirmed at least two Afgan civilians along with an Afghan intelligence officer were injured following the blast.

No group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

By Sajad - December 22 2012, 11:44 am

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Dec. 22., 2012. - ISAF Joint Command Operational Update

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition officials confirmed Dec. 22 that the Taliban leader, Faruq, and one other insurgent were killed during a security operation in Andar district, Ghazni province, yesterday.

Faruq, also known as Nadim, planned and executed improvised explosive device attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

The security force detained one suspected insurgent during the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


In Tarnek wa Jaldak district, Zabul province, Dec. 20, an Afghan and coalition security force arrested two local Taliban leaders who planned attacks against Afghan government leaders and Afghan and coalition security forces in the district. They also coordinated the transfer, shipment and delivery of weapons and improvised explosive devices to Taliban insurgents operating in the province.

An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Taliban facilitator and detained one suspected insurgent in Arghandab district, Kandahar province, Dec. 22. The facilitator procured and transported weapons, homemade explosives and improvised explosive devices for use in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

An Afghan and coalition force detained three suspected insurgents during an operation in search of a Taliban leader in Tarnek wa Jaldak district, Zabul province, Dec. 21. The Taliban leader is responsible for planning and conducting improvised explosive device and indirect fire attacks against Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan leaders as well as Afghan and coalition forces throughout Tarnek wa Jaldak and Qalat districts.


During an operation in Achin district, Nangahar province, Dec. 21, an Afghan security force, supported by coalition forces, detained two suspected insurgents, and discovered a drug cache that included 882 pounds of opium, and drug-processing equipment. The security force destroyed the drugs and equipment.

An Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Haqqani leader and detained three suspected insurgents in Jaji district, Paktiya province, Dec. 22. The leader commanded, coordinated and facilitated attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the province. At the time of his arrest, he was planning an improvised explosive device attack. During the operation, the security force seized weapons and a number of Afghan National Security Force uniforms.

Afghan and coalition forces confirmed Dec. 22 that a Haqqani facilitator was arrested during an operation in Sabari district, Khost province, Dec. 21. The facilitator procured weapons, homemade explosives and improvised explosive devices for insurgents in the area and oversaw the emplacement of IEDs.

In Sabari district, Khost province, Dec. 21, an Afghan and coalition security force arrested a Haqqani facilitator who procured and transported weapons, homemade explosives and improvised explosive devices for insurgents. The security force also detained three suspected insurgents and seized multiple weapons during the operation.

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Dec. 22., 2012. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces located two weapons caches and cleared six improvised explosive devices during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Dec. 21.

Ghazni province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED in Gelan district.

Kapisa province
Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces found and safely cleared three IEDs in Tagab district.

Khowst province
Afghan Border Police and coalition forces discovered a weapons cache in Bak district. The cache contained homemade explosives and IED making materials.

Nangarhar province
Afghan Uniformed Police and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED in Shinwar district.

Paktya province
Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces found and safely cleared one IED in Dzadran district.

Afghan National Security Forces and coalition forces also discovered a weapons cache in Dzadran district. The cache contained rockets and IED making materials.

Operations in RC-East are ongoing.

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