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Security expert: Peshawar attack demonstrates arrogance of Taliban

Pakistani soldier patrols military logistics route out of South Waziristan on October 24.
Pakistani soldier patrols military logistics route out of South Waziristan on October 24.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Car bomb in Peshawar market killed at least 100 people, injured many more
  • Of recent attacks by the Taliban, Geddes says: "It's the purest essence of terrorism"
  • Pakistani forces fighting Taliban militants in increasingly difficult conditions
  • Geddes: Taliban employing risky tactic of terrorizing nation with indiscriminate attacks

(CNN) -- A deadly car bomb attack on a busy market in Peshawar Wednesday continued a bloody trend of atrocities in Pakistan during October.

Ten attacks have been carried out so far this month, resulting in nearly 400 deaths, according to security expert Will Geddes, chief executive of International Corporate Protection.

Geddes gives CNN his assessment on the latest attack and the challenges facing the Pakistan forces.

Why Peshawar and why now?

No one's actually releasing any statement, but I would say it's a retaliatory action to the seizing of Kotkai, a town in the South Waziristan district by Pakistani troops almost two weeks ago on October 17.

The Taliban is setting off devices and suicide bombs in other parts of the country to draw attention away from Waziristan to make it harder for them. Because obviously troops will be deployed to the areas perceived to be the greatest threat. It's a pretty smart tactic on behalf of the Taliban.

Why did the attackers target the marketplace Meena Bazaar?

It's indiscriminate. It's the purest essence of terrorism. It is to absolutely instill fear and terror into the general populace. Whether that works effectively and advantageously for them in the longer run, I don't think so. Because ultimately it will be the local community who will be feeding intelligence back to Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence. If you alienate that community by targeting them then you're not winning the support of people who are potentially going to hide you out or not disclose your whereabouts, your location or your operations.

It is a risky tactic. It is showing the arrogance of the Taliban. They don't care who they target -- they just want to terrorize the whole nation.

Video: Deadly Peshawar market blast
Video: Huge blast in Pakistan
RELATED TOPICS
  • Pakistan
  • The Taliban
  • Afghanistan

How much can be read into the timing of the attacks?

It coincides with Hillary Clinton being in the country. It's fundamentally saying: "You've got a high-ranked world leader who's a guest in the country, and we're showing you we're still kicking your backside," for lack of better words. It's really to make President Zardari lose face, as well as to continue the turmoil across the country and to show to the international community that the Taliban is winning.

It is the latest in a series of deadly attacks this October. Why is the Taliban so active now?

The Taliban are always more active up in the mountains in the autumn months because it's far harder for the enemy to be successful. It is colder, the terrain's harder. The Taliban are experts at fighting in mountainous regions. The Taliban will generally come down on to the flats during the summer months and during the winter months they retreat back up into the mountains.

What would conditions be like on the ground?

It would be very cold, very brutal. It would be tough, tough terrain for any military forced to try to fight against the Taliban. They are kings of their castle in many respects in those regions.

Can you see the fighting intensifying between now and the end of the year?

The Pakistan military will find it incredibly hard going to battle against them as the winter months progress. There is very possibly going to be some kind of withdrawal, maybe the closer we get to the end of the year, because it starts becoming more and more brutal before the early months of the year. It's like Afghanistan; you don't want to be down there in January or February. However the government can't lose face and they can't seem to be losing.

Is there anything the government can do to halt the spate of suicide attacks?

If you have got sorties from the Taliban coming down into Islamabad and Karachi and undertaking attacks there, it's very difficult to intersect. Quite often what you may have is a group that is working in Karachi and Islamabad who will be the resource; they'll be the ones doing the reconnaissance, looking at the various targets and then the suicide bombers would likely come down to be briefed by the local team and pointed to the explosives, wherever they might be.

It demonstrates their determined campaign to embarrass and humiliate Zardari's government.

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