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May 13th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Suicide attacks in Pakistan kill 80; Taliban claim bin Laden revenge

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) - The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility Friday for suicide attacks on a military training facility in the nation's northwest, saying they were carried out in retaliation for the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

The twin suicide bombings killed at least 80 people, nearly all of them military recruits who had just completed their training, said Bashir Ahmad Bilour, a senior provincial minister. About 140 others were wounded.

"Pakistani and the U.S. forces should be ready for more attacks," said Ihsan Ullah Ihsan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, who accused the Pakistani military of having alerted the United States to bin Laden's location.

"Osama was our great leader and the killers of Osama will have to pay its price," he said.

The back-to-back explosions took place shortly after scores of recruits had left the Shabqadar Fort, a training facility in the district of Charsadda, said Jahan Zeb Khan, a senior police officer.

Afterward, video of the blood-soaked ground outside the training facility showed it littered with burned vehicles and broken glass.

The recruits had just completed a nine-month training program when the attackers struck.

The district of Charsadda borders Mohmand Agency, one of seven districts in Pakistan's tribal region along the Afghan border.

Mohmand is believed to be a hideout for Taliban fighters and al Qaeda-linked militants fleeing last year's military operation in the district of South Waziristan and ongoing U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan.

The Pakistani army has carried out numerous ground and air operations in Mohmand but it has not been able to stamp out the militants.

The Pakistani Taliban represent a confederation of Taliban groups in northwestern Pakistan, where they are based, said Bill Roggio, military-affairs analyst who is managing editor of The Long War Journal.

Those fighters attack targets in Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan.

The group, which is headquartered in Quetta, is different from the Afghan Taliban, which has been focused on re-establishing the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan.

Both groups swear allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Omar and have close ties to al Qaeda, he said.

FULL STORY

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan
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