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Pak blasts show Taliban's ability to strike

world Updated: Sep 28, 2009 01:25 IST
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The suicide blasts that rocked northwest Pakistan over the weekend signal the Taliban remain a threat despite intensified military operations and unmanned drone attacks targeting the group's leaders, analysts said on Sunday.

Twenty-two people were killed and more than 150 wounded yesterday in two attacks hours apart in North West Frontier Province. The Taliban claimed responsibility for one of the strikes.

Pakistan is battling al-Qaida and Taliban militants close to the Afghan border blamed for scores of attacks over the last two years.

The insurgents are linked to those in Afghanistan, where violence against NATO and US troops is running at record levels.

The leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a CIA missile strike in the northwest last month. While the militants have named a new leader, some have speculated the group may have lost some of its ability to stage attacks.

A retired former intelligence chief of the region, Asad Munir, said yesterday's attacks were a reminder of the threat from Islamist extremists.

"That area is the safe haven for the al-Qaida and Taliban leadership and they don't want to lose it," Munir told The Associated Press.