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US security firm behind Peshawar blast: Taliban chief

Source: PTI
October 29, 2009 20:51 IST
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Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud has claimed that controversial American security firm Blackwater was behind the deadly bomb attack on a market in Peshawar that killed 105 people on Wednesday.

In an interview with BBC Urdu, he claimed that Blackwater and 'Pakistani agencies' were involved in attacks in public places, in an attempt to discredit the militants.

A powerful car bomb exploded at a crowded market in Peshawar on Wednesday, killing 105 people and injuring over 200. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had earlier claimed responsibility for an attack on the army's headquarters earlier this month. Approximately 15 people were killed during that attack. A group of militants took nearly 50 people hostage before they were gunned down or blew themselves up.

Reports in the Pakistani media have claimed that Blackwater has established a presence in the country by tying up with local security firms but these allegations have been rejected by the US administration.

When Hakimullah was asked about the perception among people that militants were involved in attacks on public places, he said, "Our war is against the government and the security forces and not against the people. We are not involved in blasts."

Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq, who was present along with Hakimullah, warned that the militants could target media organisations that are 'defaming' the Taliban.

North West Frontier Province Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain and chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas have blamed militants for the blast in Peshawar.

They said the militants are targeting the people because they are facing imminent defeat in the South Waziristan tribal region, where the army has launched a major ground offensive.

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