A team of the US Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI) arrived in Peshawar on Wednesday to lead a probe into a suicide car bomb attack on an American diplomatic car in Peshawar that killed two people.
Earlier in the day, officials confirmed that an FBI team was on its way to Pakistan to work alongside Pakistani investigators as they search for clues to who was behind Monday’s blast, in which an attacker rammed his explosives-laden car into US consulate vehicle.
“An FBI team is leading the investigation of the Peshawar blast on behalf of the US government. We are closely coordinating with the Pakistan government,” a US official in Peshawar told AFP, confirming what US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.
A high ranking police official told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity that the team of American experts would visit Peshawar to inspect the site of the attack soon.
He added that the Peshawar police would assist and facilitate the FBI team.
“We have already collected the head of the suicide bomber as well as the engine and chassis number of the car used in the suicide attack,” he said, adding that a team of the FBI could land in Islamabad any day. “The attackers had done their homework and they had complete knowledge of the target, which is why the suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into the bulletproof land cruiser, despite the fact that there were two police vehicles ahead of them,” the official said. He added that it was a complete security lapse that an explosive laden vehicle reached the University Town area despite heavy security arrangements and a number of check points. Later in the day, the FBI team formally launched the probe after being briefed on the incident for two hours by Capital City Police Officer Imtiaz Altaf.
The police chief also briefed them at length about the progress made by police and law enforcement agencies so far.
Altaf said that the vehicle targeted in the attack was carrying two officials of the consulate, who were currently under treatment for their injuries.
The briefing included video clips and pictures of the site made after the blast, as well as the materials used in the explosive.
The US team was further briefed that the suicide bomber’s head and other parts of his body had been sent to the laboratory for DNA testing.
A police official informed them evidence from the vehicle used in the attack was currently being gathered.
Altaf said that the team would compile a report and send it to their senior officials. Stringent security measures were put in place prior to the FBI team’s visit to the provincial capital, and public transport was blocked on Khyber Road.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2012.
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