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Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Karachi, 8 Nov. (AKI) - (Syed Saleem Shahzad) - Afghan intelligence KHAD has once again been fingered by sources in the Pakistani security apparatus immediately following Wednesday morning's blast in the North Western Frontier Province in which some 35 people - mostly soldiers - have reportedly been killed. The explosion at the Punjab Regimental Centre in Dargai is believed to be a suicide attack.

However a senior Pakistani intelligence official said the blast simply did not fit with the strategy of the Pakistan Taliban, elements in the border areas who are loyal to the hardline Islamic forces in their guerilla war against NATO forces in Afghanistan. Dargai is reportedly a stronghold of one pro-Taliban militant group.

The attack took place nine days after an air raid against a madrassa in the nearby Bajaur tribal area that Pakistan authorities say was harbouring militants. Eighty people were killed; militants according to the government, innocent religious students according to local eyewitnesses.

"There is hardly any chance that Pakistani Taliban would be involved as just the day before yesterday one of their leaders in Bajaur agency, Maulana Faqir Mohammed, gave his words for peace and reconciliation efforts which had started in the area,” an intelligence official told Adnkronos International (AKI) on Wednesday.

Afghan intelligence, seeking to take advantage of the tense situation after the Bajaur incident, is the most likely culprit, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to local sources Dargai is home to 250,000 Afghan refugees who mainly live in refugee camps but are a dominant factor in the daily life of the area, running shops, trading and working in transport.

Pakistani Taliban are furious with Islamabad's nexus with Washington in the 'war against terror' yet at the same time they challenge the official version of the Bajaur air raid - they believe it was carried out by the US and not by Pakistan forces - so reactions have been anguished but limited.

As further evidence to back the argument that the Pakistan Taliban are not interested in major blood shed at the moment, the source cited an incident on Tuesday when rockets rained down on the governor of North West Frontier Province when he visited South Waziristan. He was deliberately given a chance to get out, he said. Had the Pakistan Taliban been serious the governor's convoy would not have survived unharmed.

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