NEW DELHI, India — Suicide bombers attacked a five-star hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan on Tuesday, in the most direct attack of a Western target since the Islamabad Marriott bombing last September.
Bombers rammed a small truck laden with explosives through the gates of the upscale Pearl Continental Hotel at around 10 p.m., killing at least 16 — including two United Nations workers — and injuring 70. The bombing was by far one of the country’s largest, with at least 1,000 pounds of explosives according to police, forming a gigantic crater and reducing much of the hotel to little more than rubble.
The attacks come little more than a week after Taliban leaders warned they would instigate attacks in major cities, retaliating against the Pakistani government’s military offensive to reclaim the nearby Swat Valley in Pakistan’s tribal Northwest Frontier Province, which borders Afghanistan.
The blasts also resembled methods used in the May 27 attack against Pakistani intelligence service in Lahore, when the Taliban struck disturbingly near to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. Yesterday’s bombings indicate a continuing trend, the Taliban moving its operations of the rural borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and into Pakistan’s urban centers.