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Pakistan: Two reporters among over 40 killed in Taliban suicide bombing

Another tragedy: A man weeps as he stands over a relative who was injured in suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan's Mohmand region, at the Lady Reading hospital in Peshawar December 6, 2010. Suspected Taliban suicide bombers killed at least 40 people at the office compound of a top government official in northwest Pakistan on Monday, demonstrating the ability of militants to strike high-profile targets in defiance of army offensives.

Two reporters were among over 40 people killed in a double suicide-bombing Monday at a meeting of tribal elders in a government building in Ghalanai, the main town in the northwestern Tribal Area of Mohmand. More than 40 people were killed by the two explosions in quick succession, which were claimed by the Taliban. Abdul Wahad of Express TV and Pervez Khan of Waqt TV were killed in the attacks.

The two suicide bombers detonated their charges at the entrance to the main political administration building in Ghalanai as representatives of the Alizai and Safi tribes were assembled for a meeting with government officials. In addition to those killed, about 70 people were wounded, including journalist Mohib Ali, according to Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF).

During a recent meeting in Peshawar with a RSF representative, Wahad and Khan had said security in Mohmand was their biggest problem. “We have to face threats from both sides,” Wahad said. “The outside world cannot imagine how difficult it is to work in the Tribal Areas right now.”

“We appeal to the Taliban to immediately stop this repugnant practice of organizing suicide bombings at public meetings attended by civilians and covered by journalists,” RSF said.

Last May, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and RSF issued a joint worldwide appeal in which they condemned “with the utmost firmness all recourse to suicide bombings in the middle of crowds of civilians that result in the deaths of innocent people including media workers.”

Tribal Union of Journalists president Ibrahim Shinwari said: “We have lost two colleagues. This new incident has confirmed the vulnerability of the media in this conflict situation.” Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Mohmand-based journalist said: “As cameramen, they had to get close to this kind of meeting. That is what exposed them to danger.”

Claiming responsibility for the double suicide-bombing, Taliban leader Umer Khalid said it was carried out to avenge the fact that the Pakistani security forces in Mohmand had handed over foreign combatants to the United States.

Pakistan is the world's most dangerous country for the media, with a total of 11 journalists killed since the start of 2010. The Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, is on the RSF list of “Predators of Press Freedom”:

Date posted: December 6, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 131