Huge Bomb Blast in Peshawar
Not much news yet, but militants detonated a bomb at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar. At least five people are dead and another 25 are injured. Dawn reports:
[Northwest Frontier Province] Information Minister, Mian Iftikhar told DawnNews that the government ‘would continue to target militants,’ and that they would ‘win the war against the extremists.’ The Minister went on to say that the only way to win the war was to ‘target all terrorists… without which, no operation could be successful.’ Furthermore, to ‘take a backward step would be to empower the terrorists.’
Update: Patrick Barry insightfully notes that the State Department was planning on buying the Pearl and turning it into a “super-consulate” to gather intelligence and manage aid programs. That would likely explain the targeting decision, and contextualize it as “the most significant attempt by the insurgents in the post-Swat offensive period to drive a wedge between the Pakistani government and their U.S. backers,” Patrick writes.