When army officers turn suicide bombers

…it’s close to the time the army gets rid of Gen Musharraf

According to B Raman’s sources, the recent suicide bombing that killed 20 of Pakistan’s crack commandos was carried out by an army officer. This is in line with forecasts from several Indian analysts that the Lal Masjid operation will have severe consequences for the army, and for Gen Musharraf:

According to reliable sources in the local Police, a Pashtun Army officer belonging to the elite Special Services Group (SSG), whose younger sister was reportedly among the 300 girls killed during the Pakistan Army’s commando raid on the Lal Masjid in Islamabad between July 10 and 13, 2007, blew himself up during dinner at the headquarters mess of the SSG at Tarbela Ghazi, 100 kms south of Islamabad, on the night of September 13, 2007, killing 19 other officers. The incident coincided with the visit of Mr. John Negroponte, the US Deputy Secretary of State, to Kabul and Islamabad for talks with the leaders and officials of the two Governments.

According to the same sources, the Pashtun Army officer belonged to South Waziristan, but Tarbela Ghazi is not located in the tribal belt. The SSG, to which Gen. Pervez Musharraf belonged, was specially trained by the US Special Forces for covert operations and for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency duties. [SAAG]

Today’s report in the Daily Times confirms the hand of army officers. A retired soldier and his two brothers have been arrested, allegedly for having links with the suicide bomber. Terrorism, after all, is a tool that the Pakistani army is an adept in employing. (Update: Maverick has more on implications of the attack on the SSG’s Zarrar company)

(The army getting rid of Musharraf—voluntarily or otherwise—is one of the triggers that would start the process of rebalancing of the power structure in Pakistan. More about this in an upcoming post on Pakistan’s political crisis)

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