And at the New York Times:
At least 88 people were killed on Friday when a suicide car bomber blew up himself and his vehicle as people gathered to watch a volleyball game in north-west Pakistan.
Police said dozens more were injured in the attack in the village of Shah Hasan Khan, in Bannu district.
“The villagers were watching the match between the two village teams when the bomber drove his double-cabin pick-up vehicle into them and blew it up,” said Habibullah Khan, the local chief of police.
Police said the attack was possibly retaliation against residents who had set up a militia to expel Taliban fighters from the area. The village is near South Waziristan, where the army last month completed a military offensive against extremists sheltering in the lawless territory.
Friday’s bombing took place after Pakistan’s security forces said they had foiled a suicide bomb plot against the country’s sensitive Wagah border crossing with India.
The plot, if carried out, would have sabotaged the first steps to improve relations between the two countries after the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai. It was uncovered as Pakistani intelligence agents arrested 10 militants including the Taliban’s leader in Punjab, known as Khalilullah, and a 17-year-old boy who was being groomed to carry the bomb.
A suicide bomber rammed a pickup truck loaded with explosives into a playground crowded with families and children watching a volleyball game in northwest Pakistan Friday.It's not as if folks don't realize Pakistan's at the boiling point. For a while there, in the last couple of months, I was reporting a new attack in Pakistan every day. And this is the Taliban, so it's not going to be isolated. The Waziristan region of Af-Pak will continue to be the crosshairs of Islamist radicalism. Indeed, South Asia, encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India is now replicating the foreign policy challenges of Fallujah and Sunni Triangle from roughly 2004 through 2006. Just like Iraq in 2003, now the United Nations is pulling out of Pakistan as increasing danger threatens its mission there. Where once analysts warned of a U.S. defeat in Iraq under the Bush administration, now it's the Demcrats and Obama who'll take blame for deterioriation of the region, the descent and possible collapse of Pakistan, and a perhaps an ignominious American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Police and local officials said as many as 60 people had been killed, with scores wounded, making the New Year’s Day attack one of the deadliest of more than 20 suicide bombings carried out by militants since October.
The attack underscored the Taliban’s determination to prevent citizens from forming militias to keep the insurgents at bay as military operations disrupt their strongholds in the nearby tribal belt.
Local authorities said they had little doubt that the village, Shah Hassan Khel, was chosen because residents were forming a pro-government militia. In recent weeks, the militants had been threatening death to anyone who joined.
But as the bomber prepared to strike on Friday, he did not choose the most obvious target: A meeting underway of local leaders of the new militia.
Instead, he drove his double-cabin pickup truck into the middle of a nearby playground where teams were playing volleyball and detonated explosives so powerful that they collapsed homes surrounding the field.
Healthcare can wait. This administration is facing its highest stakes in foreign policy. We've started to move toward more efficacious counterinsurgency under the McChrystal plan, but President Obama's dithering and delay clearly has emboldened America's enemies in the theater. Dick Cheny is right.
Noteworthy is how the Taliban, by seeking to deploy teenage bombers, is now mimicking the most diabolical terrorism of al Qaeda in Iraq at the height of the insurgency. And as we saw yesterday, the bomber in the Afghan blast that killed 8 Americans had camouflaged the bomb under an Afghan army uniform.
See also, CNN's report, "Terror Attack Kills 75 at Pakistan Volleyball Match."