Bomber kills 5 at Pak UN office

Bomber kills 5 at Pak UN office

World body temporarily closes offices in Pakistan; minister warns of more attacks

Pakistan is battling al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants who have set off numerous bombs in towns and cities aimed at the security forces and the government and foreign targets.
“I went to my office on the first floor and as I sat on my chair there was a huge blast,” WFP official Arshad Jadoon told Reuters outside the tightly guarded office in a residential area of Islamabad.

“All of a sudden, a smoke cloud enveloped the building and we came out where wounded people were lying,” he said.

‘Henious crime’

A WFP spokesman, Amjad Jamal, said five members of staff had been killed, four Pakistanis and an Iraqi. At least two of the Pakistanis were women.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the attack was a heinous crime.

“This is a terrible tragedy for the UN and for the whole humanitarian community in Pakistan,” he said in a statement condemning the attack. The UN temporarily closed its offices in Pakistan after the blast for security reasons, a UN spokeswoman said.

In June this year, two UN workers were killed in a suicide car bomb attack on a hotel in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The army has made progress against militants in the northwest and Interior Minister Rehman Malik says the back of the Pakistani Taliban has been broken. But the militants have struck back with several bomb attacks in recent days as the army prepares to launch an offensive on the Pakistani Taliban’s main bastion in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border. The bomber was disguised as a paramilitary soldier and got into the WFP office compound after asking a guard at the gate if he could use a toilet, Malik told reporters.

“They are like a wounded snake,” Malik said. “We expected they would attack some specific places to put the government under pressure.”

Captured militants had told interrogators some bombers had been sent off on missions last month, Malik said. “So the in coming days, two or three suicide bombings are expected,” he said. The WFP provides food to millions of impoverished Pakistanis. The agency was recently involved in providing relief to about two million people displaced by an army offensive against militants in the Swat valley. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack on the WFP office.

Hakimullah surfaces, threatens to strike

The new Tehrik-e-Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud surfaced on Monday and vowed to strike US and Pakistani interests to avenge the killing of his slain leader Baitullah Mehsud and American drone attacks on the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, reports PTI from Islamabad.His appearance in front of a select group of reporters in the South Waziristan tribal area ended speculation over his reported death in a contest for leadership of the Pakistan Taliban, sparked by Baitullah’s killing in a drone strike.