Pakistan: Lahore attackers were Taliban

Police: arrested terrorists admit having trained in Waziristan.

May 29, 2010 20:57
1 minute read.
Police take cover from militants.

311_Pakistan terror. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


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LAHORE, Pakistan — Militants who attacked a minority sect, killing 93 people in eastern Pakistan, belonged to the Pakistani Taliban and were trained in Waziristan, police said Saturday.

The US has long been pressing Islamabad to mount an attack into the lawless border region, which serves as a key launching ground for groups fighting against the US and NATO, associated with the Taliban.

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The attacks, directed against the Ahmadi Muslim minority, occurred minutes apart on Friday in two neighborhoods in Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city. Two teams of gunmen, stormed the mosques and sprayed bullets at worshippers while holding off police.

At least two of the seven attackers were captured, while some died in the standoff or by detonating the explosives strapped on their bodies, committing suicide.

Local TV channels had been reporting that the Pakistani Taliban, or one of their affiliates, had claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Senior police officer Akram Naeem in Lahore said the interrogation of one of the arrested suspects revealed that the gunmen were involved with the Pakistani Taliban, which has staged attacks across the country for years. The 17-year-old suspect told police that the men had trained in the North Waziristan tribal region.

US has been pressuring Islamabad to carry operations into Waziristan

North Waziristan has long been filled with militant groups focused on battling US and NATO forces across the border in Afghanistan. But as the army has mounted operations against the Pakistani Taliban elsewhere in the lawless tribal belt, many in the group, which has focused on attacking Pakistan, have since set up shop in North Waziristan.

That has given the US more ammunition to pressure Islamabad to launch an operation there, whereas in the past Pakistani officials had tried to avoid taking on the web of militants in that northwest region.

Meanwhile Saturday, Ahmadi leaders in Pakistan demanded better government protection as they buried many of the victims. Waseem Sayed, a US-based Ahmadi spokesman, said it was the worst attack in the sect's 121-year history.

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