6 killed, 36 hurt in Peshawar police station attack
PESHAWAR A TALIBAN suicide bomber flattened a Pakistani police station on Wednesday, killing six people in the latest brazen assault on security forces since US troops killed Osama bin Laden.
The dawn truck bombing brought down the threestorey building in the military zone of the northwestern city of Peshawar, not far from the US consulate, just days after an American diplomatic convoy was attacked.
The country’s main Taliban faction claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was their fourth reprisal for the May 2 death of bin Laden, whose discovery and killing in Pakistan humiliated the military and government.
The Peshawar bombing will likely highlight doubts about the security forces’ ability to protect not only themselves but major cities, and fuel a long-running debate about the security of the country’s nuclear weapons.
Five policemen and a soldier died in Wednesday’s explosion, a relatively low toll given the enormity of the blast, but officials said the building normally had only a skeleton staff at the time of the attack shortly before 5:00 am.
An AFP reporter saw flames from the stricken building, shattered glass on the ground, pancaked rubble, burning tyres and the charred remains of at least three vehicles, including a small truck.
Constable Farid Khan, who had his shoulder fractured in the attack and was admitted to a hospital, told AFP that he was saying his morning prayers inside the police station when a deafening explosion took place.
“The roof of the building collapsed,” he said, adding that he had been pinned down because of his injury until his colleagues took him to hospital.
“It was a huge blast which completely destroyed the three-storey building,” police official Muhammad Ijaz said.
Another police official, Shafiullah Khan, said six people died and rescuers were looking for up to three people still trapped under the rubble, with 36 already taken to hospital with injuries.
“An estimated two to three people are still feared to be trapped under the rubble.
Rescuers are trying to pull them out.
I hope we take them out alive,” Khan said.