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Insurgents destroy regional headquarters of Pakistan's spy agency

MCT

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A powerful car bomb destroyed the regional headquarters of Pakistan's premier spy agency Friday, as insurgents struck at the controversial institution that once had supported them, killing at least 10.

The provincial office of the Inter-Services Intelligence military espionage agency in Peshawar, capital of the North West Frontier Province, was struck in early morning, causing the building to collapse.

Separately, a bombing at a police station in Bannu, on the edge of the tribal borderland with Afghanistan, killed six more.

The latest violence came as the U.S. National Security Adviser, James Jones, visited Pakistan for talks, expected to center on Afghanistan.

Pakistan has been rocked by a wave of terrorist attacks in retaliation for the U.S.-backed military offensive launched last month in South Waziristan, the heartland of the country's Taliban movement.

The extremists last month assaulted the Pakistani military's headquarters in Rawalpindi, in a daring gun assault.

Pakistan's military, operating through the ISI, has trained and supported jihadist groups since the 1980's, to serve as its proxy warriors in Afghanistan and India.

However, after Pakistan sided with the U.S. against the Taliban in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, a rupture developed in the relationship between military and the mullahs. Some extremist groups turned on the state, especially after the government stormed the Red Mosque in Islamabad in 2007, and other jihadist outfits appear to still remain within the broad control of the military.

(Shah is a McClatchy special correspondent)

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