9/11 brings slow death to Pakistan's Peshawar

Wed Sep 7, 2011 10:23am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Qasim Nauman and Augustine Anthony

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - When the people of Peshawar watched the collapse of New York's Twin Towers on television, it seemed like a distant tragedy.

Few could have imagined that the events of September 11, 2001, thousands of miles away would touch their lives in this bustling frontier city near the Afghan border.

But over the decade since then, Peshawar has itself been targeted repeatedly by Islamist militants opposed to Pakistan's cooperation in the U.S. war on militancy.

These days the city is a magnet for suicide bombers rather than the tourists and traders who once made its economy vibrant.

"I come to my shop every morning but I don't know if I am going to go home alive or in a body bag," said Sheikh Arshad, who repaired his minivan after it was damaged in a bombing and then had to sell it to keep his herbal medicine shop afloat.

"When 9/11 happened I had no idea it would bring such destruction to my business, to my city. There is nothing anyone can do. The police come after every bombing, take down our names and promise compensation. But nothing happens."


For centuries Peshawar was a crossroads of culture and trade between Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. It is also the gateway to the Khyber Pass, which sits on the ancient Silk Road and leads to the Afghan border.   Continued...

<p>A Pashtun woman wears a burqa as she carries a plastic bag back from a market in Peshawar September 6, 2011. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz</p>