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Teen bomber kills dozens in market. -

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ELEANOR HALL: As the world awaits the official outcome of Afghanistan's election this week, a spike
in violence in neighbouring Pakistan has added to the regional tensions.

In the latest incident a teenage suicide bomber killed more than 40 people overnight when he flung
himself at a military convoy passing through a busy market in the country's north-west.

At least 116 people have been killed in a series of blasts and attacks over the last week and as
the military gears up for a major assault on the Taliban heartland.

Barney Porter reports.

BARNEY PORTER: The latest attack occurred in the north-west district of Shangla, when a 13-year-old
suicide bomber, on foot, struck a paramilitary convoy passing through a crowded bazaar.

The blast then detonated ammunition in some of the trucks.

Six soldiers were among the 41 people killed; the rest were civilians. Around 45 others were

One of Yosuf Khan's relatives was wounded in the attack.

YOSUF KHAN (translated): After the blast people were running everywhere and there was also firing.
We were looking for our relatives. We saw some people who had lost their hands and some had lost
their legs.

BARNEY PORTER: It was the fourth violent incident in a week.

The spate of attacks began when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a heavily guarded United
Nations aid agency in the heart of the capital Islamabad, killing five staff members.

On Friday, a militant detonated a car-bomb in the middle of a busy market in the north-western city
of Peshawar, killing 53*.

Then came last weekend's raid on Pakistan's heavily fortified army headquarters in the city of
Rawalpindi, in which nine militants and 14 other people were killed.

Pakistan's military spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, says the militants' aim in that raid was
to seize senior army officials and trade them for jailed comrades.

ATHAR ABBAS: Their target was to take hostage senior officers of the GHQ (General Headquarters) and
then place their demands of rescuing. The main demand was to take, they gave a long list of all
those who had been apprehended, the terrorists who are in our custody, the custody of the
Government, they wanted their release.

BARNEY PORTER: The attacks have come as the army prepares for an offensive against the major base
of the Taliban in South Waziristan - a rugged mountainous region bordering Afghanistan, and which
has always been outside direct government control.

It follows last April's campaign to clear the Taliban out of the Swat Valley.

The army has already claimed success there but many Taliban are believed to have simply melted into
rural areas or gone to neighbouring districts.

Dr Christopher Sneddon is a senior lecturer at Melbourne's Deakin University.

CHRISTOPHER SNEDDON: I think to some extent the Taliban is on the run but the great difficulty of
course is you can go in and get these people out of the area but they relocate to somewhere else
and the counter-insurgency operation is, yes, getting, clearing the area of the enemy but then
you've got to rebuild the area and you've got to keep the enemy out and that remains the problem
for the Pakistan army.

BARNEY PORTER: Now it has been reported that the Pakistan military intelligence had a hand in
creating the Taliban in the first place. Is not the hardline militia a fact of life for any
Pakistan government?

CHRISTOPHER SNEDDON: Yes it is, for the Government, and this is where we have to discriminate
between the Government and the military. The Government says the right things and I think they are
actually reasonably keen in terms of controlling the Taliban.

I think the army has a different agenda, or at least an agenda that doesn't always mesh with the
Government's and they would be using some of those assets, as they would consider them, for
operations in Afghanistan and some of those - Taliban they're now calling them - in southern Punjab
for operations against India either in Kashmir at the moment or in the future somewhere in India.

BARNEY PORTER: On that basis, Dr Sneddon is not hopeful of an end to the violence soon.

CHRISTOPHER SNEDDON: The future holds more instability. The Pakistan army which, through its
inter-services intelligence agency, was very supportive of the Taliban, has now lost control of
that organisation and they are trying to rein them in but that remains the issue. Do they want to
rein them in or do they want to obliterate them?

So it's a bit of a power struggle and all it is going to lead to in the future is more uncertainty
and more such instances. Maybe not at the level we're seeing at the moment but there will continue
to be incidences of militants taking on government officials or government organisations or even
the military, such as in Rawalpindi.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Christopher Sneddon, ending that report by Barney Porter.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: The audio version of this report incorrectly states the Peshawar death toll is 58.
The correct figure is 53.