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Taliban claims some attacks, denies others in Pakistan

By Ivan Watson
Local residents gather at the site of a suicide car bomb blast on the outskirts of Peshawar.
Local residents gather at the site of a suicide car bomb blast on the outskirts of Peshawar.
  • Sixth suicide bomb attack in and around Peshawar in eight days killed at least six people
  • Taliban spokesman said in a statement that "these are religiously legitimate targets"
  • Taliban also denied responsibility for some attacks, blaming Pakistani intelligence agencies

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Taliban leaders have claimed responsibility for a wave of suicide bombings that have battered the Pakistani city of Peshawar. The militants also vow to carry out more attacks in the future.

But a Taliban spokesman also denied responsibility for some of the deadliest suicide bombings in recent history, saying they were staged by Pakistani intelligence agencies to sap support for the militants.

On Monday morning, a suicide bomber in a car loaded with hundreds of kilograms of explosives self-detonated outside a police station in Peshawar, killing at least six people and wounding 25.

It was the sixth suicide bomb attack in and around the provincial capital in eight days.

"These are religiously legitimate targets," Azam Tariq, the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan), said in a videotaped statement released over the Internet this weekend.

"The targets of the Tehrik-i-Taliban have always been clear: those state organizations who at the behest of the Americans target the Tehrik-i-Taliban and have the blood of our martyrs on their hands."

Video: Pakistan's blame game
Video: Suicide blast kills at least 3

He went on to deny responsibility for the twin suicide bombings at the International Islamic University in Islamabad and for the October 28 car bombing that killed more then 100 people at a crowded Peshawar market.

"I want to make it clear to the Muslim world, especially Pakistan, that the bomb blasts targeting civilians are not the work of the Mujahedeen," Tariq said. "Instead, it is the work of Pakistan's sinister secret organizations and Blackwater."

He was referring to the controversial American security company formerly known as Blackwater, now Xe Services LLC.

Reports about the alleged and often unsubstantiated activities of U.S. security contractors have become the focus of much speculation and anger in the Pakistani media in recent weeks.

In response to such claims, Xe spokeswoman Stacy DeLuke said last week, "We have no contracts in Pakistan. Our competitor holds that WPPS (worldwide personal protection services) contract.

"We've been blamed for all that has gone wrong in Peshawar, none of which is true, since we have absolutely no presence there."

DeLuke added: "Just as Kleenex has become the generic name for all tissues, we've become the generic name for all private contractors, regardless of truth or validity."

In making his claims, Tariq read his statement before the camera, seated with his back to a tree in a mountainous area.

In recent days, Taliban officials have called news organizations to contradict battlefield claims by the Pakistani military. More then four weeks ago, the Pakistani army mounted an offensive against the remote Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan. The army says it has killed hundreds of militants, a claim that cannot be independently verified. Pakistani authorities have banned foreign observers from the conflict zone.

More then 160,000 civilians have fled the fighting.

In a call to CNN on Saturday, Qari Hussain, the man thought to have masterminded the Taliban's suicide bombing campaign, said only 14 militants had been killed in the four-week operation.

He claimed responsibility for a massive car bombing last Friday, which destroyed the entrance to the Pakistan spy agency's headquarters in Peshawar. Hussain also vowed to carry out more bomb attacks, and to add Pakistani political parties that criticize the Taliban to his list of targets.

"Only time will tell who the real ruler of Waziristan will be," Hussain said. "The government, the army or the Taliban."

Journalist Nasir Dawar and CNN's Samson Desta and Suzanne Simons contributed to this reprot