Peshawar bombing hits the aid community

Peshawar Pearl Continental bombing

Last night, a suicide bomb attack on a luxury hotel in the north-west Pakistani city of Peshawar, has killed 15 people and injured at least 60.

Gunmen stormed the outer security barrier at the Pearl Continental Hotel before blowing up a vehicle containing 500kg of explosives.

Two aidworkers, a Serbian UNHCR staff and a UNICEF employee from the Philippines were killed and several others were injured. (Full)

This was the last in a long series of bombings in Pakistan, the second targeting a prominent hotel. Nine months ago, the Marriott hotel in Islamabad was virtually destroyed in a similar attack.
The Pearl Continental was obviously chosen as a target for maximum impact: due to the obvious security constraints in Peshawar, it was the only hotel approved for UN aid workers, by UN Department for Safety and Security (UNDSS).

Picture courtesy Mohammad Sajjad/Associated Press


A Lady's Life 10 June, 2009 19:36  

So what they are trying to do is instill hatred, fear,poverty, and promote man's inhumanity to man.

This is the story. It's been the story for many years and the only way to stop it is to make people see that giving up the people involved is the right thing to do if peace is to reign.
Violence never stops hate. You fix one thing and another develops.
It needs to stop.

Anonymous,  10 June, 2009 21:07  

Really sorry for the fatalties, indeed. However 2 questions: why UN finds accomodation in luxury hotels for their staff, apart the economic crises we are all suffering and having personnel located in posh premises might sound a big slap to the local people, secondarly why taking the risk to expose the staff in places nowadays considered easy targets for the terrorists. I understand you might not agree, but mine is just a thought after having read that people working, have again payed with their own lives. rgds

Peter 11 June, 2009 17:51  


Thanks for your comments. Two things:
1/ With 3 million people uprooted in the Swat valley, aidworkers HAD to move in to ensure proper basic needs of these people are taken care of: shelter, medical care, food, water, hygiene. So there is not much choice we, aidworkers have: when an emergency like this happens, we HAVE to assist or people die.
2/ The choice of the Pearl Continental hotel as the main hotel where aidworkers could stay, was not based on its price, but on the security conditions of the hotel. I have been to Peshawar several times. This hotel was the only one where you had a safety perimeter separating the hotel from the outer world. Unfortunately, in this case, it was clearly not good enough.

I hope that explains some of the background...


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