- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 5, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan | An American U.N. official who was kidnapped near the Afghan border two months ago was freed Saturday, even as two suicide bombers and suspected U.S. missile attacks killed at least 28 people in Pakistan.

John Solecki, who headed a regional office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, was abducted Feb. 2 from Quetta, Pakistan, in Baluchistan province.

A spokesman for the Baluchistan Liberation United Front said the group freed Mr. Solecki on humanitarian grounds. He said the U.N. official had been released in a remote area of Baluchistan. Interior Affairs Minister Rehman Malik said Mr. Solecki had reached Quetta and was being treated in a hospital.

“He will soon reach his family in the United States. His health condition is fine,” Mr. Malik said.

Meanwhile, in another daring attack on security forces in Pakistan, a suicide bomber hit a tented camp of paramilitary forces in the capital, Islamabad, killing eight soldiers and wounding four others.

The Frontier Constabulary camp at a posh residential area of Islamabad was protected only by barbed wire. Officials said the attacker ran into the camp from the least-protected side, blowing up with more than five pounds of explosives.

Members of the constabulary are usually assigned to guard foreign embassies and VIPs in the city, the Associated Press reported.

Mr. Malik confirmed it was a suicide attack, while Islamabad Inspector General of Police Bin Yamin said a suspected person was apprehended at the site and was being interrogated by the security agencies.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack. However, the leader of a Taliban faction accused of ties to al Qaeda warned Wednesday that militants would strike soon in Islamabad.

The recent string of violence shows that security forces, particularly police and paramilitary troops, remained the main target of terrorists.

Security analysts say paramilitary troops and police are targeted for attack because they have a lower level of protection compared with the regular army.

Earlier last week, a group of terrorists attacked a police training camp in Lahore to the east, while a few days before that a suicide bomber attacked the office of a security agency in Islamabad.

Mr. Malik said the government is devising a new strategy to cope with the changed strategy of terrorists.

“No technology in the world can detect suicide bombers. We are taking special measures and devising our own strategy. The government has sanctioned 25,000 highly trained police officials for each province,” Mr. Malik told reporters during visits to the blast site and hospital.

He said resources in Pakistan are limited and that terrorists are trying to demoralize security forces.

“Enemies of Pakistan are after the stability and integrity of Pakistan. We will never allow them to succeed in their designs. We must choose one - Pakistan or Taliban.”

Hours earlier, another suicide attack on a paramilitary forces checkpoint in the troubled tribal region killed at least seven civilians.

Pakistani media reported that 12 to 15 people, including children, were killed in the afternoon attack near Miran Shah, the main town of North Waziristan bordering Afghanistan.

However, a military statement said seven civilians including two children were killed while 39 others, including six soldiers, were injured in the attack.

Also in North Waziristan, a suspected U.S. missile strike killed 13 people, including militants and civilians, in the early hours Saturday.

Official sources said the drone missile hit a house in the Datta Khel area, killing 10 militants and three civilians, including a child.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, claimed his men carried out the attack on an immigration office in Binghamton, N.Y. However, security officials and analysts said the claim is only a publicity stunt, and he is unable to carry out any such attacks.

Police said an out-of-work Vietnamese immigrant killed 13 people at an immigrant training center in the city on Friday, before killing himself.

Earlier last week, Mehsud threatened to carry out dramatic attacks on Washington, including on the White House. U.S. officials said that he has made such claims in the past, but that they take every threat seriously.

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