Official: Large blast kills at least 5 in Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) – A suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck outside a government office in a tribal region where Pakistan’s army has fought the Taliban, killing at least five people and wounding nearly 100 others Friday.
The attack indicated that militants remain a potent force in Pakistan’s tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, despite facing army offensives. The U.S. has praised Pakistan for taking on Islamist extremists that use the tribal region to plan attacks on Western troops across the border, but the militants have often retaliated on Pakistani soil.
The bomber drove up on his motorcycle near the Yakaghund village office of the Mohmand tribal region’s assistant political agent – a top administrator in the area, security official Esa Khan said.
The blast destroyed shops, government offices and a small prison, he said. Footage from the area showed dozens of men pouring through piles of yellow brick and mud rubble in search of survivors.
“After the blast, I saw destruction. I saw bodies everywhere. I saw the injured crying for help,” Khan told The Associated Press in the main northwest city of Peshawar, where he helped escort some of the wounded to a hospital.
Mohmand government official Noor Mohammad said at least five people were killed and nearly 100 wounded.
Mohmand is one of several areas in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt where Taliban and al-Qaida are believed to be hiding. The Pakistani army has carried out operations in Mohmand, but it has been unable to extirpate the militants.
Information from Mohmand is difficult to verify independently because access to the area is heavily restricted.