Suicide bomb in Pakistan kills 30
The attack in Lahore is the nation's deadliest this year and underscores the spread of the Taliban insurgency.
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A devastating suicide bombing rocked the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing 30 people and wounding more than a 250. It was the deadliest attack in Pakistan this year, and underscored that a roiling Taliban insurgency is spreading deeper into the country.
Until recently, Pakistan's eastern border near India had largely remained outside the theater of conflict. Most attacks have taken place in the West, just a few miles from the Afghan border, in regions like Swat, Buner, and Waziristan, where Pakistan's military has been battling militants for the last several months.
But Wednesday's bombing was the third in as many months to strike in or around Lahore, a vibrant and tolerant city of 15 million. And it followed a pattern consistent with Taliban attacks, striking a symbol of the Pakistani state: buildings belonging to the city's emergency services police. It may also have been intended to target nearby buildings of the InterServices Intelligence, or ISI, the country's intelligence wing.
Pakistan's English newspaper Dawn on Wednesday emphasized the targeting of the ISI building, which was badly damaged.
At least four men with rifles stepped from the car and opened fire on the intelligence agency building, then set off a massive blast when security guards returned fire, officials said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik suggested the attack could be retaliation for the government's military offensive to rout Taliban militants from the northwestern Swat Valley.
The Associated Press said the injured included bystanders and police, and added that ISI agents were among the dead.
For the last month, Pakistan's military has waged a concerted campaign to flush out militants in Swat valley and surrounding districts. The assault is seen as a major test of Pakistan's ability to regain control of – and keep – territory taken by extremists, The Christian Science Monitor reported recently.