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At least 10 dead as Pakistan spy agency office destroyed by bomb
The provincial office of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency in Peshawar, capital of North West Frontier Province, was struck by a car bomb in the early morning, causing the building the collapse.

Separately, a bombing at a police station in Bannu, on the edge of the tribal borderland with Afghanistan, killed six more. The latest violence came as James Jones, the US National Security Adviser, visited Pakistan for talks.

Pakistan has been rocked by a wave of terrorist attacks in retaliation for the military offensive launched last month in South Waziristan, the heartland of the country's Taliban movement.

The extremists pointedly targeted military sites, last month in a daring gun assault, and now at the ISI. Pakistan's military, operating through the ISI, has worked with jihadist groups since the 1980s, using them as proxy warriors in Afghanistan and India. However, a rupture in the relationship between military and the mullahs opened up after Pakistan sided with the US against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. Some extremist groups turned on the state, especially after the storming of the Red Mosque in Islamabad in 2007, while other jihadist outfits appear still to remain within the broad control of the military.

Hasan Askari Rizvi, a security analyst, said: "From their [the extremists'] perspective, the ISI and the Pakistani government have betrayed them and they have betrayed the Islamic cause."

The Peshawar ISI base, on a main road close to other government offices, was targeted by a suicide bomber in a pickup truck using a massive 300kg of explosives. The vehicle broke through the barricades and detonated close to the building. An army spokesman in Peshawar said three civilians and seven army personnel were killed in the blast and another 59 injured.

Ahmad Ali, who was waiting at traffic lights close to the site and who received injuries in the explosion, said he heard firing and then there was a cracking sound. "White smoke of dust covered the area ... Something hit me on the head and I lost consciousness. I found myself in a hospital bed," said the 25-year-old man.

In South Waziristan, the Pakistan army claims to have made rapid progress, killing over 500 Taliban fighters and capturing over 80 per cent of the territory. However, many believe that the Taliban leadership has fled to adjacent North Waziristan. US pressure is mounting on Pakistan to push onto North Waziristan and other parts of the tribal belt after the current operation.

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