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Taliban bomb Peshawar in response to Pakistan offensive

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Peshawar, a city of 2.5 million and the capital of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province is home to most of the country's ethnic Pashtun population. Its proximity to the frontline of Pakistan's battle with the Taliban leadership in South Waziristan make it an easier target for terrorists than the capital Islamabad or the eastern city of Lahore, says Rahimullah Yusufzai, the Peshawar bureau chief of the News, an English-language daily.

While the death toll Monday was mercifully low by recent standards, some observers fear that Taliban fighters may launch another "spectacular" attack soon. "As the Army makes its way through Waziristan, the militants may try to show they still have the ability to lash out," says Mr Yusufzai.

"We're seeing this almost every day now," says Dr. Shiraz Afridi, director of the Lady Reading Hospital's emergency department.

Violence peaking?

Mehmood Shah, a former security chief for Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), argues that violence in Peshawar is peaking and predicts that the Taliban will soon exhaust their supply of suicide-bombers and explosives. "They seem to be acting out of desperation. Once their headquarters is taken it will be increasingly difficult for them to mount these kind of attacks," he says.

"Earlier they could launch audacious strikes in Islamabad and Lahore. Now the frontline has fallen to Peshawar. As the battle goes on it may fall further back to Tank and Bannu, the towns around South Waziristan," says Yusufzai.

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