Suicide Assaults in Pakistan

A Pakistani bomb disposal squad member removes a suicide jacket from the body of an attacker in Lahore (AFP)

A Pakistani bomb disposal squad member removes a suicide jacket from the body of an attacker in Lahore (AFP)

It would appear that the Pakistani Taliban are attempting to forestall a much anticipated Pakistani military offensive by pre-empting with one of their own. Three security buildings have been attacked in Lahore – the Federal Investigation Agency offices and two police training facilities. There has also been a suicide VBIED attack on a police station in Kohat (scene of a suicide attack on 18 September).

Four gunmen are reported to have attacked the FIA building, killing at least three in addition to the attackers. At least one of the assaulters had a suicide vest. The same building was hit by a suicide attack in March 2008.

At the Manawan police academy, three attackers are said to have detonated suicide vests, killing at least six police personnel. The same building was struck in March earlier this year in a similar assault.

The third target in Lahore was the Bedia police training complex, which was attacked by a team of at least eight gunmen – it appears fighting is still ongoing at time of writing.

The SVBIED in Kohat apparently struck the wall of the police station, causing both police and civilian casualties.

The use of suicide-vest wearing assault teams appears to be a growing tactic. We’ve seen repeated instances of this approach recently in Afghanistan, with attacks on government buildings and security stations in Kabul and wider afield. The team that attacked the Pakistani GHQ over the weekend was also apparently wearing suicide vests. It is interesting that the attacks in Pakistan appear to be more successful than those in Afghanistan, where the attackers are frequently killed before they have a chance to inflict significant casualties. This either suggests that Pakistani Taliban’s operatives are considerably more effective and better trained, or that the Pakistani security forces are less capable than their Afghan and ISAF counterparts – especially given that two of the sites attacked today have been struck quite recently. Perhaps its a combination of both.

Its also worth noting that the TTP have been able to coordinate three different attack teams against three separate ‘hard’ targets across Lahore in near-simultaneous attacks, an indication of a pretty sophisticated planning capability, not to mention the men and materiel requirements.

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