Pakistani security officials say two suicide car bombings killed at least 16 people and wounded scores of others in northwestern Pakistan on Friday. The attacks come as U.S. National Security Advisor Jim Jones is in the country for meetings with civilian and military leaders.
The first attack early Friday morning targeted the regional headquarters of Pakistan's spy agency, the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), which is overseeing the anti-militancy campaign in the country's tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.
Provincial Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain spoke to reporters at the scene shortly after the blast. He says the bomber was driving a pick-up truck that carried a huge amount of explosives.
The blast caused a large portion of the building to collapse. Rescue workers were still at the scene many hours later, searching the rubble.
Security forces effectively blocked media access to the highly sensitive area.
About an hour later, another suicide car bomber struck a police station in the nearby district of Bannu, which is a gateway to the North Waziristan tribal region, a stronghold for al-Qaida and Afghan Taliban militants.
The deadly attack destroyed the building and also wounded more than two dozen people.
Meanwhile, officials in southwestern Pakistan say suspected militants attacked oil tankers taking fuel to U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. One driver was killed, and five tankers were set on fire.
Within the last week, suspected Taliban militants have carried out at least five major attacks, most of them in northwestern Pakistan, killing more than 80 people.
Authorities believe the violence is in retaliation for the ongoing military offensive against Pakistani Taliban militants in South Waziristan.
Friday's attacks also occurred as U.S. National Security Advisor Jim Jones arrived in the country and met with Pakistani Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani to discuss the military's offensive and regional security.