Pakistan Police: Plot Foiled on Hotels, Diplomats
Pakistan police say they foiled Taliban terror attack against diplomats, top hotels
Two highly experienced Taliban militants were arrested while planning to attack top hotels and kidnap diplomats in Pakistan, and one of the men claimed to have helped plan previous strikes.
The two men, both deserters from a government paramilitary force, were arrested recently in a hotel in Rawalpindi, a crowded city near Islamabad, said Islamabad Police Chief Bin Yamin.
He declined to say Monday when the men were arrested or what information lead authorities to them. The militants’ identities and the specific targets weren’t disclosed.
The announcement comes, though, as top Pakistani officials head to Washington for bilateral talks. Pakistani officials say their country has paid an enormous price in fighting terrorism — losing more than 2,000 soldiers in the past year or so — and demanding the United States offer more help and acknowledge its concerns about rival India.
One of the arrested men, wearing a black hood while speaking to reporters at a police station, said their targets included five-star hotels and a club for Westerners.
The militant also claimed they helped plan the October suicide attack on the U.N. food agency’s office in Islamabad that killed five staffers, as well as the December strike on the Pakistani Navy’s headquarters that killed one person. He said those attacks were masterminded by Taliban insurgents based in the Orakzai tribal area, and by Ghazi Force, a militant group affiliated with the Taliban.
Pakistan has seen a string of bloody militant attacks in recent years, often aimed at Pakistani soldiers but also targeting Westerners and the Pakistani elite — including a 2008 truck bomb blast at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed 54 people.
In the Rawalpindi raid, police also seized two suicide vests and weaponry, Yamin said.
Separately, a roadside bomb exploded Monday in a city in southwestern Pakistan, killing one person and injuring three more in an attack that police blamed on ethnic militants.
The bomb was planted beside a rickshaw near a busy intersection, senior police officer Hamid Shakil said.
Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, where the government has been fighting ethnic Baluchi militants. The Baluchi militancy is distinct from the Taliban insurgency.