Last Updated 10/28 10:45 PM EST
A car bomb leveled much of the Mina Bazaar in old town Peshawar today, killing at least 106 people and wounding over 150, the vast majority of them women and children. The attack is the deadliest yet in a string of attacks across the country since Pakistan began their South Waziristan offensive, and the deadliest bombing attack in Pakistan since 2007.
Pakistan’s military insists the ongoing South Waziristan offensive is going exceedingly well, though they now concede that they have no timetable for when it will actually end, and seem to be capturing only the most trivial of targets and are having trouble enough doing that.
The international community condemned the bombing, as expected, and Pakistan’s civilian government sounded a defiant tone, insisting their resolve to continue the war with no regard for the civilian toll.
But where its offensives in Bajaur, Khyber and Malakand remained largely confined to those areas with little spill-over, South Waziristan is quickly having a major impact across the country, forcing school closures and killing hundreds.
This is increasingly setting up the offensive in the South Waziristan Agency, a place where Britain repeatedly tried and failed to conquer the fiercely independent tribes, as a defining moment for the Zardari government, something they seemed eager to avoid. A false declaration of victory after a few months of fighting likely won’t be possible if major cities are continually hit by the rebels, and a protracted battle may quickly peel off what little good will remains for his administration.