State Department employees in Pakistan have another reason to thank the U.S. taxpayer for the enormous investment he has made in heavily armored vehicles for our missions abroad.
This morning, the Taliban ambushed a two-car convoy of consulate employees traveling between home and office, remotely detonating a roadside bomb when the convoy passed nearby. According to local new media, the bomb was about 50 kilos (100 pounds), which is more than large enough to destroy an unhardened vehicle. Happily, our well-protected vehicle sustained only minor damage, and the two employees riding in it were only slightly injured.
The New York Times has this report:
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A car bomb aimed at a two-car convoy carrying American consular officials to work exploded Friday morning, but no Americans were killed or seriously injured, a United States Embassy spokesman said.
The attack was the first against Americans since the Navy Seal raid on May 2 that killed Osama bin Laden in the city of Abbottabad.
In a phone call to The Associated Press, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Ahsanullah Ahsan, claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We say to the Americans and NATO that we will carry out more deadly attacks, and we can do it,” Mr. Ahsan said in the report.
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An American who lives three blocks from the attack said the explosion was “a big blast that shook the earth.” The attack was timed for about 8:30 in the morning, when employees of the consulate regularly drive to work from their homes in the upscale neighborhood of University Town, the American said.
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A Pakistani government official said two Americans were slightly injured and that they were riding in a vehicle that belonged to the Regional Security Office, the group responsible for security arrangements for American employees at the consulate.
Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, is considered a relatively high-risk area because it borders the tribal areas where the Pakistani Army has been fighting militants for more than two years.
The last attack against an American in Peshawar was in 2008 when gunmen fired at the vehicle of the American consul-general, Lynne Tracy, as she was traveling to work. She escaped unharmed.
Employees of the consulate were placed under immediate “lockdown” after the attack Friday morning, an American official said.