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Clinton Condemns Attack on US Personnel in Pakistan

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, hold a joint press conference with Indonesian FM Marty Natalegawa in Jakarta, Indonesia, September 3, 2012.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is condemning the attack on U.S. consulate personnel in Pakistan, deploring what she called a "cowardly act of suicide bombing and terrorism."

"It appears that a van filled with both American and Pakistani personnel, as well as locally-employed staff at the embassy site, were targeted by a suicide bomber who drove a vehicle into this van with the consequence that there were injuries to both Pakistanis and Americans in the van and on the ground," she said.

The blast injured 19 people in a crowded part of Peshawar known as University Town, where several international organizations have their offices.

Clinton says she is praying for the safe recovery of Americans and Pakistanis injured in the blast, some of whom she says have been airlifted to hospitals in Islamabad.

"We appreciate the support we are getting from Pakistani law enforcement and government personnel," said Clinton.

She says Pakistani authorities responded "appropriately" to the attack, and she has no information at this time about who is responsible.

Clinton spoke to reporters in Jakarta following talks with Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, stressing the role of democracies such as Indonesia in fighting terrorism.

"It is deeply regrettable that there are those who pursue political goals through terrorism," she said. "That is what is so important about a democracy like Indonesia. In as big a country with as diverse a population as Indonesia has, people have an outlet. They can compete in the political process. They can put their ideas forward. They can ask for the votes of their fellow citizens. And in the 21st century, that is what we should all be doing."

Foreign Minister Natalegawa joined Secretary Clinton in condemning the attack. Indonesia has been a victim of terrorism, including the killing of more than 200 people in Bali in 2002.

"We remain side-by-side with all our democratic partners in wanting to overcome the threat of terrorism, and we are sympathetic, and we hope those who have been injured by this latest incident can recover quickly and that the perpetrators are brought to justice," said Natalegawa.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday's bombing. Peshawar is the capital of the northwestern Pakistani province that borders Afghanistan and is an area where Taliban and al-Qaida militants operate.

Secretary Clinton is facing a Sunday deadline to notify U.S. lawmakers whether she believes the Pakistan-based Haqqani network meets the definition of a terrorist organization.

Several leaders of the al-Qaida- and Taliban-linked group are subject to U.S. sanctions, but Congress wants the entire Haqqani network named a terrorist organization, as it is now widely seen as the biggest threat to United States and allied forces in Afghanistan.