Accessibility links

Breaking News

Twin Blasts Kill, Wound Scores in NW Pakistan

Officials in northwestern Pakistan say two bombings have killed more than 65 people and wounded more than 112 others in a tribal area near the Afghan border. Police say the blasts involved a suicide bomber on a motorbike, followed by a suspected car bomb. No one has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The explosions occurred Friday outside a senior government office in the Yakaghund village in Pakistan's Mohmand tribal region.

Mahboob Khan was injured in the attack.

He says he was standing in front of his house when a big blast erupted, sending up clouds of dust. He says his home collapsed, killing some of his family members and injuring others. Khan says when he could finally see, body parts were scattered all over the ground.

Officials say rescue workers searched the rubble for survivors. Many of the injured were taken to the nearby city of Peshawar for medical treatment.

The explosions took place at the site of Rasool Khan's office. Khan is a senior government administrator who says he was meeting with members of the local peace committee when the blasts took place. He managed to escape injury.

He tells VOA that every Friday the local peace committee comes to his office for discussions. While he says the actual target of the attack still is not clear, he credits the peace committee for playing an active role against militants.

Mohmand lies along the porous border with Afghanistan and is a well-known Taliban stronghold.

Last year, the Pakistani military launched two major offensives against Taliban militants in the country's northwest.

In the final few months of 2009, hundreds of civilians were killed in what Pakistani officials called retaliatory attacks by militants.

Security analyst Khalid Aziz tells VOA that he believes Friday's attack could be another example of this.

But he stresses that any regrouping of the militants does not necessarily mean that the military efforts in the region have failed.

Aziz says the military component is a very small part of what amounts to a war of philosophies. He says many Pashtun tribes in the area may share kinship or sympathy with Taliban militants. He says these feelings can give rise to militancy.

"You expect this to go on until the people who have these thoughts are in the minority. At the moment, they are not in the minority," said Aziz.

Last week, twin suicide attacks occurred at a popular Sufi saint shrine in the eastern city of Lahore, killing more than 40 people and wounding nearly 200 others.

Authorities suspect the Pakistani Taliban is responsible, but the group has denied involvement.