Taliban Bombing Kills 80 in 'First Revenge for Osama's Martyrdom'

The suicide attacks targeted a military training center in Pakistan

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Two suicide bombers attacked recruits at a paramilitary training center in northwest Pakistan on Friday, killing 80 people and wounding 120 more in what a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban called "the first revenge of Osama's martyrdom," according to AFP. The spokesman, who claimed responsibility for the attack, warned of future attacks in Afghanistan and in Pakistan against Americans, and told the AP that the Taliban was also punishing the Pakistani army for failing to "protect its land" during the bin Laden raid--a criticism that has become quite popular in Pakistan these days. Today's bombing in Pakistan's Charsadda district near Peshawar, the AP notes, is the first major militant attack in Pakistan since bin Laden's death and the deadliest this year.

The police are telling news agencies that one suicide bomber rode up on a motorcycle, shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) and detonated his vest, which was packed with ball bearings and nails, as the newly trained cadets were boarding buses for a 10-day leave after completing their nine-month training program early this morning. Eight minutes later, as people ran to help the victims of the first blast, the second bomber drove up on a second motorcycle and blew himself up, in an explosion witnesses described as more powerful than the first.

The BBC adds some analysis to the coverage. While the Taliban spokesman claimed the attack was to avenge bin Laden's death, since 2007. Al-Qaeda doesn't have any military capability in Mohmand or its northern neighbor, Bajaur, and instead depends on support from local militants there. "Expect these militants to use bin Laden's killing as an excuse to launch similar attacks in coming days," Khan writes. The BBC's Aleem Maqbool points out that the Pakistani military will probably cite this attack as evidence of the sacrifices it has made in the fight against terrorism, as it faces international criticism over the bin Laden raid.

Here's a video from Al Jazeera on today's bombing (warning: graphic images):

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