Saturday, October 10, 2009

We, Muslims will never forget.


May, 2008 : "Iraqi police found the bullet-riddled Quran with graffiti inside the cover on a firing range near a police station in Radwaniyah, a former insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad, U.S. military spokesman Col. Bill Buckner said.

American commanders launched an inquiry that led to disciplinary action against the unidentified soldier, who has been removed from Iraq, Buckner said.

Members of the local U.S.-allied group said the Quran was found with 14 bullet holes in a field after U.S. troops withdrew from a base in the area. "

US forces leave isolated Afghan base after attack


By Todd Pitman, Associated Press Writer – Fri Oct 9, 2009.

KABUL – Taliban fighters claimed Friday their flag was flying victoriously over an eastern Afghan village U.S. forces abandoned after suffering casualties in one of the war's deadliest battles for American troops.

The withdrawal this week from mountainous Kamdesh, an isolated hamlet near the Pakistan border, was planned well before the intense Oct. 3 attack left a pair of outposts in ruins and eight American troops dead.

The NATO-led coalition said the move was part of a new strategy outlined months ago by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, to shut down remote difficult-to-defend outposts and redirect forces toward larger population areas to protect more civilians.

The strategy has an inadvertent consequence, however: Every inch of ground the U.S. cedes, emboldened Taliban militants are likely to take and trumpet as a victory over another superpower.

The Afghan war entered its ninth year this week with President Barack Obama's administration pondering how to counter an insurgency growing more powerful by the day.

Source

A handful few, attack with hearts of lions...

Gunmen hold hostages in Pakistan army headquarters

By Associated Press Writer Asif Shahzad, Oct. 10, 2009

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan – Militants held several security officers hostage inside an intelligence wing of the army headquarters Saturday after they and others attacked the complex in an audacious assault on Pakistan's most powerful institution.

The attack, which left at least 10 people dead, was the third major militant strike in Pakistan in a week and came as the government was planning an imminent offensive against Islamist militants in their strongholds in the rugged mountains along the border with Afghanistan.

It showed that the militants retain the ability to strike at the very heart of Pakistan's security apparatus despite recent military operations against their forces and the killing of Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in a CIA drone attack in August.

An army statement said more than two assailants were holding several officers hostage in the "security office building" inside the heavily fortified complex close to the capital. The army uses that term to refer to the headquarters of either the military intelligence or the country's premier spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence.

The whereabouts of military chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha were not known. Separate army statements said Kayani attended meetings at the headquarters and at the president's office in nearby Islamabad during the day.

The attack began shortly before noon when the gunmen, dressed in camouflage military uniforms and wielding assault rifles and grenades, drove in a white van up to the army compound and opened fire, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas and a witness said.

"There was fierce firing, and then there was a blast," said Khan Bahadur, a shuttle van driver who was standing outside the gate of the compound. "Soldiers were running here and there," he said. "The firing continued for about a half-hour. There was smoke everywhere. Then there was a break, and then firing again."

After a 45-minute gunfight, four of the attackers were killed, said Abbas, who told the private Geo news television channel the assault over and the situation "under full control."

But more than an hour later, gunshots rang out from the compound, and Abbas confirmed that gunmen had eluded security forces and slipped into the headquarters compound in Rawalpindi. The city is filled with security checkpoints and police roadblocks.

"We are trying to finish it (the siege) at the earliest, clear the area of terrorists and restore complete control," Abbas told Dunya TV.

Abbas said six troops were killed and five wounded, one critically. Those killed included a brigadier and a lieutenant colonel, according to a military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Source

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Army of the non-Islamic Republic of Pakistan torturing Muslims.

Sheikh Awlaki (may Allah protect him) : Could Yemen be the Next Surprise of the Season?

Posted: 07 Oct 2009 01:08 AM PDT

The jihad movement around the world has witnessed a surprising growth during the past few years. After 9-11 America had succeeded in pulling together an international coalition in order to fight the mujahedeen. It invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, put pressure on governments around the world to throw anyone with association with Jihad behind bars and to stop the flow of money into Jihad movements. All over the world the mujahedeen have suffered an international effort under the leadership of America to bring an end to Jihad. But Eight years later the mujahedeen are wining on every front and are expanding into new ones. It appeared difficult back then to imagine that the world would be the way it is today just 8 years after 9-11.
That is because Rasulullah(saaws) said: “A group of my ummah will continue fighting in the path of Allah and they will not be harmed by those who are against them.”
The American people gave G.W. Bush unanimous backing to fight against the mujahedeen and gave him a blank check to spend as much as needed to fulfill that objective. The result? He failed, and he failed miserably. So if America failed to defeat the mujahedeen when it gave its president unlimited support, how can it win with Obama who is on a short leash? If America failed to win when it was at its pinnacle of economic strength, how can it win today with a recession – if not a depression- at hand?
The simple answer is: America cannot and will not win. The tables have turned and there is no rolling back of the worldwide Jihad movement. The ideas of Jihad are proliferating around the world, the mujahedeen movements are gaining strength and the battlefields are expanding with the mujahedeen introducing new fronts.
In Afghanistan the rural areas are mostly under the control of the Taliban and there is a steady improvement in the growth and strength of the mujahedeen. In Iraq even though the US claims an improvement in the security situation but one needs to ask the question at what cost is that achieved? The amount of money America is spending on Iraq with a recession at hand is unattainable.
The Jihad of this era started in Palestine, followed by Afghanistan, then Chechnya, then Iraq, then Somalia, then the Maghreb, and the new front might very well turn out to be Yemen.
And when this new front of Jihad starts in Yemen it might become the single most important front of Jihad in the world.
Why? First, the Arabian Peninsula has always been a land of mujahedeen even though there has been no fighting occurring on its soil. In Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, and Iraq the participation of mujahedeen from the Arabian Peninsula represented the largest block of foreign mujahedeen. When Jihad starts in the Arabian Peninsula, Jihad would be coming back to its home.
Second, he Arabian Peninsula is home to Makkah and Madinah. To free the Holy places from the rule of apostasy and tyranny is to free the heart of Islam.
Third, the rulers in the Arabian Peninsula are playing a central role in the fight against Islam especially the al Saud family. The al Saud of today are the Abdullah bin Ubay of yesterday. They have perfected the art of hypocrisy. They fight Islam in the name of Islam. They wear cloaks of sheep on hearts of wolfs. There cannot be Islamic rule and a return to khilafah without removing them from existence and this is the responsibility of the mujahedeen of the Arabian Peninsula.
America and its allies in the area are plotting against the mujahedeen, nevertheless their growth increases by the day. May Allah grant the true believers victory and grant them steadfastness on His path.
Their intention is to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will complete His light even thought the disbelievers may detest it. (al Saff 61)


http://www.anwar-alawlaki.com/

Report: Global Muslim population hits 1.57 billion

And Sheikh Khalid Yassin would say "1.57 billion Muslims!!! 1.57 billion Red matches! Nothing you can do with them, except make more matches!!!" -RM.


Article By AP Religion Writer Eric Gorski, Ap Religion Writer – Thu Oct 8, 2009

The global Muslim population stands at 1.57 billion, meaning that nearly 1 in 4 people in the world practice Islam, according to a report Wednesday billed as the most comprehensive of its kind.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life report provides a precise number for a population whose size has long has been subject to guesswork, with estimates ranging anywhere from 1 billion to 1.8 billion.

The project, three years in the making, also presents a portrait of the Muslim world that might surprise some. For instance, Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon, China has more Muslims than Syria, Russia has more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined, and Ethiopia has nearly as many Muslims as Afghanistan.

"This whole idea that Muslims are Arabs and Arabs are Muslims is really just obliterated by this report," said Amaney Jamal, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University who reviewed an advance copy.

Pew officials call the report the most thorough on the size and distribution of adherents of the world's second largest religion behind Christianity, which has an estimated 2.1 billion to 2.2 billion followers.

Source

Martyrdom op. on Indian embassy in Afghanistan

Taliban suicide attack kills 17 in Afghan capital

Associated Press Writer Rahim Faiez, Oct. 08, 2009

KABUL – A suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle outside the Indian Embassy in the bustling center of the Afghan capital Thursday, killing 17 people in the second major attack in the city in less than a month. The Afghan Foreign Ministry hinted at Pakistani involvement — a charge Pakistan denied.

The blast occurred a day after the war entered its ninth year and as President Barack Obama was deliberating a request by the top commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal for up to 40,000 more troops. Opponents of a troop increase want to shift focus to missile strikes and special operations against al-Qaida-linked groups in Pakistan.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack — the second against the Indian Embassy in the past two years — and specified that the Indians were the target.

In New Delhi, India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said the driver of the sport utility vehicle "came up to the outer perimeter wall of the embassy in a car loaded with explosives." Three Indian paramilitary guards were wounded by shrapnel, Rao said.

Rao did not say who the Indians believed was responsible for the attack, which occurred about 8:30 a.m. along a commercial street that is also home to the Interior Ministry.

However, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said the Thursday attack "was planned and implemented from outside of Afghan borders" by the same groups responsible for the July 2008 suicide bombing at the Indian Embassy that killed more than 60 people.

The ministry statement made no mention of Pakistan. However, the Afghan government blamed Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence for the 2008 bombing at the Indian Embassy as well as involvement in a string of attacks in the country.

U.S. officials suspected the 2008 embassy bombing and other high profile attacks were carried out by followers of Jalaluddin Haqqani, a longtime Afghan militant leader whose forces are battling U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan from sanctuaries in the border area of Pakistan. At U.S. urging, the Pakistani military says it's planning an offensive against extremists in the border area.

In Islamabad, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abdul Basit, condemned Thursday's bombing.

"Whenever terrorist activity occurs it should strengthen our resolve to eradicate and eliminate this menace," he said. Basit called allegations of a Pakistani role in the Kabul bombing "preposterous."

The Taliban did not say why it targeted the Indian Embassy. India and Pakistan, archrivals since the 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent, are competing for influence in Afghanistan among rival ethnic groups. India maintains close ties with the Tajik community, and Pakistan with the Pashtuns, who form the majority of the Taliban.

Thursday's blast was the deadliest attack in Kabul since Sept. 17, when a suicide bomber killed 16 people, including six Italian soldiers and 10 Afghan civilians, on a road in the center of the capital.

The Interior Ministry said 15 civilians and two Afghan police officers were killed in Thursday's blast. At least 76 people were wounded, the ministry said. President Hamid Karzai, the U.S. Embassy and the United Nations mission all condemned the attack.

Source

Wealth! A soldier of Allah against the enemies of the Muslims.


Whodunit? Sneak attack on U.S. dollar

Eamon Javers Eamon Javers – Oct. 08th, 2009


It’s the biggest mystery in global finance right now: Who conducted a sneak attack on the U.S. dollar this week?

It began with a thinly sourced but highly explosive report Monday in a British newspaper: Arab oil sheiks are conspiring with the Russians and Chinese to quit using the dollar to set the value of oil trades — a direct threat to the global supremacy of the greenback.

Is it true? Everyone from the head of the Saudi central bank to U.S. officials scrambled to undercut the story, but no matter.

With the U.S. economy on the ropes and America by far the world’s biggest debtor, investors aren’t feeling as secure about the dollar as they used to. And the notion of second-tier economies ganging up on Uncle Sam didn’t sound so far-fetched.

For American officials, the possibility of the dollar losing its long-term dominance in global commerce is a nightmare scenario because it would likely mean sharply higher interest rates at home and a declining ability to finance the U.S. debt. No one believes it could really happen right now, but stories like the British report this week make it seem incrementally more likely.

So the piece by Robert Fisk of the Independent shocked currency traders around the world and almost instantly sent the value of the U.S. dollar spiraling downward and the price of gold skyrocketing to an all-time high, as a hedge against a weakened dollar.

The website drudgereport.com quickly amplified the impact of the story with a headline atop the site: ARAB STATES LAUNCH SECRET MOVES WITH CHINA, RUSSIA, FRANCE TO STOP USING DOLLAR FOR OIL TRADING ...

“You read that story, and you do two things: You sell the hell out of dollars and you buy gold,” said Les Alperstein, president of the financial research firm Washington Analysis. “The story has a lot of credibility, with some caveats.”

So who wanted dollars diving and gold rising? In other words, who is Fisk’s source, and why did he or she want to tank the dollar? It’s the global currency version of the old Washington parlor game of speculating on the real identity of Deep Throat.

No one knows.

But one thing is for certain: With the price of gold jumping to $1,048.20 per ounce, traders who moved early enough stood to make millions.

So in government circles in Washington, speculation immediately centered on gold traders: With the skyrocketing price of gold, they’d be the biggest beneficiaries of the article.

Fisk’s story itself isn’t much help in solving the mystery — it is sourced vaguely to “Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong,” and it included one blind quote, attributed to “a prominent Hong Kong broker.” That doesn’t narrow down the pool very much.

The story doesn’t name any officials who had allegedly participated in the secret meetings involving the Arab states. It didn’t say where the meetings occurred or when. Other than saying the plan is to stop using the dollar by 2018, there was precious little detail to the account.

Around the world, traders turned to Wikipedia to find out more about Fisk himself. There, they learned that Fisk is a legendary British foreign correspondent who has been based in Beirut for more than 30 years and has won a slew of journalism awards. They also learned that he is one of only a few journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden (three times) and that he has expressed doubts that the United States has told the full story about the Sept. 11 attacks.

An analyst’s report from the Royal Bank of Scotland concluded, “Fisk is a veteran of the Middle East. ... he is also increasingly associated with more radical theories thus weakening the credibility of the story.”

Beyond the specifics of the story, the geopolitical implications of the report sent shudders from Riyadh to London to Washington: Has the long-dominant American economy been so humbled by the economic crisis that these nations would mount a frontal attack on the dollar, the underpinning of the world’s biggest economy?

That question is on the minds of global investors, who are keeping a skittish eye on the weakening dollar. And over the past several months there has been a steady drumbeat of Chinese, Russian and other officials who have talked openly about finding a replacement for the dollar as the global economy’s default currency. Any effort to do that would be fraught with difficulty. But however unlikely, the possibility represents a threat to the American economy, which has come to depend on the significant advantages it reaps from minting the currency most used around the world.

In another era, the dollar could shrug off such a vaguely sourced, thinly detailed story.

But not anymore.

The dollar is weak and vulnerable to rumor-mongering because many traders believe it will only get weaker. “The fundamental reason why this occurred is that after 9.8 percent unemployment on Friday, nobody can say with certainty that the recovery is sustainable,” said one analyst familiar with the situation.

“In years past, when the U.S. economic dominance was more pronounced and emerging markets were marginal players in the global economy,” noted an analyst’s report from HSBC, “the debate on pricing commodities in currencies other than the [U.S. dollar] typically came down to the lack of practicality. ... Today, emerging markets are clearly wielding much more influence in the global economy, and they want more, as will be borne out in this week’s IMF meetings.”

And that means U.S. officials whose job it is to defend the dollar may have their work cut out for them in the months to come.

Source

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Taliban claim responsibility for deadly UN blast

ISLAMABAD – Taliban militants claimed responsibility Tuesday for the deadly suicide bombing at the U.N. food agency's heavily fortified compound in Islamabad, saying international relief work in Pakistan was not in "the interest of Muslims."

The attack, which killed five workers for the World Food Program on Monday, pushed the U.N. to temporarily close its offices in the country. It also exposed the vulnerability of international relief agencies helping millions of Pakistanis ahead of an anticipated military offensive against the Taliban in their South Waziristan stronghold.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the Taliban carried out the bombing to avenge the Aug. 5 slaying of their leader, Baitullah Mehsud, in a U.S. drone attack and that the country "should expect a few more" attacks.

Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq confirmed his group was behind the bombing and lashed out at foreign aid workers.

"We proudly claim responsibility for the suicide attack at the U.N. office in Islamabad. We will send more bombers for such attacks," he told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location. "The U.N. and other foreign (aid groups) are not working in the interest of Muslims. We are watching their activities. They are infidels."

He said the Taliban would not attack Muslim relief groups, but that future targets would also include Pakistani security officials, government offices and American installations.

World Food Program spokesman Amjad Jamal defended the agency's work as "totally humanitarian."

"We provide food. Our food is for the vulnerable groups, the poor groups who cannot afford one meal a day," he said.

Pakistani religious scholar Mufti Muneebur Rehman disputed the Taliban claim that international aid work was against Islam.

"Helping somebody in need is one of the best traits of Islam," he said. "A good Muslim would be the first to help any non-Muslim in trouble."

The suicide bomber was dressed as a security officer and was allowed to enter the World Food Program offices — apparently bypassing the normal security procedures — after asking guards outside if he could use the bathroom.

The U.N. announced it was temporarily closing its offices, but said its Pakistani partner organizations would continue distributing food, medicine and other humanitarian assistance. The world body said it would reassess the situation over the next several days.

Malik, who was visiting those injured in the bombing at a hospital, said the government had taken several of the guards outside the U.N. offices into custody for questioning as part of the investigation into the security lapse.

The United Nations had already considered itself a likely target in Pakistan. Its offices are surrounded by blast walls, while staffers are driven in bulletproof cars and not allowed to bring their families with them on assignment.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said those killed in the bombing Monday were serving a "noble cause."

"They will be remembered for their commendable services by the people of Pakistan," Gilani wrote in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon, according to state-run media. "Such cowardly terrorist acts will never weaken our resolve to fight against this scourge."

The attack came a day after the new Pakistani Taliban leader met reporters close to the Afghan border, vowing more attacks in response to U.S. missile strikes. Ending speculation he had been killed, Hakimullah Mehsud denied government claims the militants were in disarray and said his fighters would repel any army offensive on their stronghold in South Waziristan.

Source

Monday, October 5, 2009

2 NATO soldiers reported killed in Afghanistan

KABUL – Bombs killed two NATO troopers, including one American, following the deadliest attack against U.S. forces in Afghanistan in more than a year, military officials said Monday.

A NATO statement said a U.S. soldier died of wounds suffered in a bombing Sunday in southern Afghanistan.

The statement said a second service member died of wounds in a roadside bombing Monday, also in the south, but the victim's nationality was not released.

At least 16 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan so far this month — matching the American death toll for all of October in 2008.

The latest deaths followed a fierce weekend assault on a pair of remote outposts in the northeastern province of Nuristan in which eight U.S. service members were killed and about 20 Afghan security troopers were captured. It was the deadliest attack against U.S. forces in Afghanistan in more than a year.

Afghan officials reported the situation in Nuristan was generally calm Monday after two days of fighting in the remote area near the border with Pakistan. The assault began at dawn Saturday in the Kamdesh district of Nuristan province and raged throughout the day. Sporadic clashes were reported Sunday.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay said the assailants included a mix of "tribal militias," Taliban and fighters loyal to Sirajuddin Haqqani, an al-Qaida-linked militant based in sanctuaries in the tribal areas of Pakistan near the Afghan border.

The top U.S. and NATO commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, plans to shift U.S. troops away from remote outposts that are difficult to defend and move them into more heavily populated areas as part of his new strategy to focus on protecting Afghan civilians.

McChrystal has said more resources are needed to fight the Taliban and has asked for up to 40,000 more troops.

Some of President Barack Obama's advisers oppose a major increase and have suggested the U.S. focus on going after al-Qaida figures across the border in Pakistan.

8 US troops killed in fierce Afghan fighting

KABUL – Hundreds of insurgents armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades stormed a pair of remote outposts near the Pakistan border, killing eight U.S. soldiers and capturing more than 20 Afghan security troops in the deadliest assault against U.S. forces in more than a year, military officials said Sunday.

The fierce gunbattle, which erupted at dawn Saturday in the Kamdesh district of mountainous Nuristan province and raged throughout the day, is likely to fuel the debate in Washington over the direction of the troubled eight-year war.

It was the heaviest U.S. loss of life in a single battle since July 2008, when nine American soldiers were killed in a raid on an outpost in Wanat in the same province.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, plans to shift U.S. troops away from remote outposts that are difficult to defend and move them into more heavily populated areas as part of his new strategy to focus on protecting Afghan civilians.

U.S. troops used artillery, helicopter gunships and airstrikes Saturday to repel the attackers, inflicting "heavy enemy casualties," according to a NATO statement. Fighting persisted in the area Sunday, U.S. and Afghan officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay said the assailants included a mix of "tribal militias," Taliban and fighters loyal to Sirajudin Haqqani, an al-Qaida-linked militant based in sanctuaries in the tribal areas of Pakistan near the Afghan border.

Afghan authorities said the hostile force included fighters who had been driven out of the Swat Valley of neighboring Pakistan after a Pakistani military offensive there last spring.

"This was a complex attack in a difficult area," U.S. Col. Randy George, the area commander, said in a statement. "Both the U.S. and Afghan soldiers fought bravely together."

Details of the attack remained unclear Sunday and there were conflicting reports of Afghan losses due to poor communications in the area, located just 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the Pakistani border and about 150 miles (230 kilometers) from Kabul.

A NATO statement said the attacks were launched from a mosque and a nearby village on opposite sides of a hill, which included the two outposts — one mostly American position on the summit and another mostly Afghan police garrison on a lower slope.

NATO said eight Americans and two Afghan security troopers were killed.

An Afghan military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of security issues, said three Afghan soldiers and one policeman had been killed in two days of fighting. He also said at least seven Afghan army soldiers were missing and feared captured.

In addition, provincial police chief Mohammad Qasim Jangulbagh said 15 Afghan policemen had been captured, including the local police chief and his deputy. Jangulbagh estimated that about 300 militants took part in the attack.

"Kamdesh is one of the most dangerous areas of Nuristan province," he said, noting that the area is across the border from parts of Pakistan where al-Qaida-linked militants operate.

Jangulbagh said that after Pakistani forces drove militants from most of the Swat Valley five months ago, militants "received orders to come to Nuristan and destabilize the situation."

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said militants overran both outposts, but U.S. spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said U.S. troops were holding the outposts Sunday. She also said a roadside bomb killed a U.S. service member southwest of Kabul on Saturday, bringing the U.S. death toll for the month to 15.

The fighting occurred in a region where towering mountains and dense pine forests have long served as a staging area for Taliban and al-Qaida fighters who move freely across the Pakistani frontier.

Source

Martyrdom op. in Pakistan executed


Suicide bomber kills 5 at UN office in Pakistan


ISLAMABAD – A suicide bomber disguised as a security officer struck the lobby of the U.N. food agency's Pakistan headquarters Monday, killing five people a day after the new leader of the Pakistani Taliban vowed fresh assaults, authorities and witnesses said.

The blast raises questions as to how the bomber managed to evade tight security at the heavily fortified World Food Program compound in the capital, Islamabad. It could also hamper the work of WFP and other aid agencies assisting Pakistanis displaced by army offensives against al-Qaida and the Taliban in their strongholds close to the Afghan border.

Hours after the attack, which the world body said it was closing its offices in Pakistan temporarily.

"This is a heinous crime committed against those who have been working tirelessly to assist the poor and vulnerable on the front lines of hunger and other human suffering in Pakistan," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Geneva. He said the U.N. would continue, however, providing humanitarian assistance to the Pakistani people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing. Militants have carried out scores of suicide attacks in Pakistan over the last 2 1/2 years, several of them targeting foreigners and their interests. Under U.S. pressure, Pakistani security forces have recently had some success combatting the extremists.

The blast Monday shattered windows in the lobby of the compound in an upscale residential area of Islamabad and left victims lying on the ground in pools of blood, witnesses said. The office is close to a home belonging to President Asif Ali Zardari.

"There was a huge bang, and something hit me. I fell on the floor bleeding," said Adam Motiwala, an information officer at the U.N. agency who was hospitalized with injuries to his head, leg and ribs.

Medical officials at two hospitals said five people had been killed in the attack, including an Iraqi working for the agency. Two of those killed were Pakistani women. Several others were injured, two of them critically, the WFP said in a statement.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the attacker was wearing the uniform of a paramilitary police officer and asked a guard if he could go inside the building to use the bathroom. He was carrying around 8 kilograms (18 pounds) of explosives.

Police official Bin Yamin said the attacker, who was in his 20s, detonated his explosives in the lobby. It was unclear how he made that far. Typically, visitors to U.N. buildings in Islamabad are screened and patted down for weapons and explosives in secure chambers some distance from the entrance to the building.

U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson condemned the targeting of aid workers as an attack against Pakistani society.

"Such cruel acts expose the true nature of the terrorists' agenda," she said.

The bombing was the first such attack in Islamabad since June, when two police where killed. Another blast in June on a luxury hotel in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed two U.N. staffers and injured others.

Malik said the bombing Monday proved the militants were growing desperate in response to recent government offensives against the groups.

"These terrorists, they are injured snakes," he said.

On Sunday, Hakimullah Mehsud, the new leader of the Taliban in Pakistan, met with reporters in the country's tribal areas for the first time since winning control of the militants. His appearance, flanked by other Taliban commanders in a show of unity, ended speculation that he was killed in a leadership battle within the militant group sparked by the August slaying of his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, in a missile strike.

"We all are sitting before you which proves all the news about myself ... was totally baseless and false," he said.

Mehsud spoke to a small group of reporters as he sat on a blanket on the ground in the shade of a tree, flanked by guards carrying heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

He spoke on condition his comments not be published until the reporters left the area Monday out of concern their use of satellite phones to file the story could lead Pakistani forces to him.

Mehsud vowed to strike back at Pakistan and the U.S. for the increasing number of drone attacks in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

Source