Deadliest attack in months in Pakistan region

2012-01-10 17:32
Peshawar - A remote-controlled bomb blast killed 35 people and wounded more than 60 others on Tuesday in the deadliest attack in months in the Taliban-hit tribal region of northwest Pakistan.

The explosion took place in a market in Jamrud, one of the towns of the troubled Khyber tribal region, which also used to serve as the main supply route for Nato forces operating in Afghanistan.

Officials said the dead included two children, aged 9 and 10 years, and three tribal policemen.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing but local residents suggested it was a tribal dispute, as most of the victims were members of the Zaka Khel tribe who oppose the local warlord, Mangal Bagh.

Trails of blood could be seen around the site of the blast, which had left a large crater in the road, an AFP reporter said.

"The total number of deaths in the blast is 35 while 69 people were wounded," a senior administration official, Shakeel Khan Umarzai, told AFP, adding 11 were in critical condition.

Target unclear

Another top official in Khyber, Mutahir Zeb, said the target of the attack was not immediately clear.

"According to initial information, it was a remote-controlled device planted in a passenger pickup van," he said.

The burnt out wreckage of at least 15 cars littered the scene next to the shattered glass of at least nine destroyed shop fronts.

One of the wounded, 26-year-old Zulfiqar Khan, a van driver with a broken left shoulder, said he had been washing his car when the explosion hit.

"I fell at least three metres away from my car because of the impact of the blast," he said. "As I fell on the ground with severe pain in my left shoulder, pieces of human flesh hit my body."

Another man, Ameenullah, 38, who goes by just one name, spoke to AFP from his hospital bed where he was being treated for head wounds and three broken fingers.

"I was driving my car when a powerful blast rocked the area which over-turned my car. When I regained consciousness, I found myself on the hospital bed," he said.

Homegrown insurgency

Pakistan's remote and lawless northwest region is a stronghold of Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives and other Islamist militants opposed to the government.

Insurgents largely based in the tribal border lands have carried out bomb and gun attacks killing nearly 4 800 people across Pakistan since July 2007.

But the market bombing was the first major Islamist militant attack in Pakistan since September 15 when a suicide bomber killed 46 people, targeting anti-Taliban militia at a funeral in the northwest district of Lower Dir.

Pakistan has battled a homegrown insurgency for years, with more than 3 000 soldiers killed in the battle against militancy.

120 bomb blasts in 2011

On Monday Pakistani authorities recovered the bodies of 10 soldiers in an exchange of bodies with Taliban militants following a clash two weeks ago in the tribal belt.

An official with the military's media wing said the soldiers had been missing in Orakzai district since December 21 when rebels attacked a check-post and killed 13 others.

That exchange came four days after the corpses of 15 members of Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Constabulary were found in the northwest town of Shawa, in North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border, almost two weeks after they were kidnapped.

There were about 120 bomb attacks in Pakistan in 2011, up on the 96 bomb blasts in 2010, but far lower than violence in 2009 when there were 203 bombings across Pakistan, according to an AFP tally.

The latest attack comes as the northwest border crossing for Nato supplies to foreign troops fighting in neighbouring Afghanistan remains closed, after Nato air strikes on November 26 killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Pakistan rejected the results of the military coalition's investigation into the incident and said the strikes had been a deliberate act of aggression, leaving relations floundering between the US and Pakistan.
Read more on:    taliban  |  pakistan  |  security

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Things are slowly starting to slot into place. There is still some preparation work to be done to help consolidate and ground more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.