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Bin Laden Revenge Bombings Kill 80 in Pakistan

Twin suicide bombings outside a paramilitary training center in northwestern Pakistan killed 80 people in the early morning hours today in what is being called a retaliatory attack for the assassination of Osama bin Laden. According to the Washington Post, the two explosions rocked the training center for the Frontier Constabulary in Charsadda, an hour’s drive from the capital city of Islamabad. Some 69 new recruits, who had just finished their morning prayers and were preparing to board buses that would take them to their home towns for vacation, were killed by two suicide bombers. The first approached the training center on foot and  detonated his explosives, and when shocked recruits flooded into the street a second bomber on a motorcycle rode by and blew himself and scores of young men to pieces. Eleven civilians also died in the attack; more than 140 people were wounded.

The Pakistani Taliban, an offshoot of the Afghan Taliban, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. “This was revenge for Osama’s martyrdom,” Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the group, told Agence France-Presse. “Wait for bigger attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he vowed.

A second Taliban official, however, told the Washington Post that the bombing was punishment for the Pakistani military’s recent offensive against militants in the Mohmand region. The Taliban, al-Qaeda and what the Post called a “potpourri of other militant organizations” are based.

It is possible that both Taliban officials are correct.

The Frontier Constabulary could also have been targeted because its troops are trained by US special forces.

Still, survivors of the bombing and local officials were incredulous. Asked Bashir Ahmed Bilour, a government minister from neighboring Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province: “What did they achieve? Who was killed? I ask you and those who claimed responsibility, did they kill Americans or young innocent recruits who were about to leave for their native towns?”

“I lost many friends,” one injured 20-year-old recruit told the Post. “What did we do wrong?”

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