A car filled with explosives rammed into a US government vehicle in Peshawar yesterday, killing two Pakistanis and wounding 19 other people, police said.
Two Americans and two Pakistanis working at the US consulate in Peshawar were among the wounded, a US embassy official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because an official statement had not yet been issued.
Peshawar is located near Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal region, the main sanctuary for Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in the country. The city has been hit by scores of bombings in recent years, but attacks against US targets are relatively rare because of the extensive security measures taken by the US government.
The vehicle was attacked after it left the US consulate in Peshawar and was traveling through an area of the city that hosts various international organizations, including the UN, said police officer Pervez Khan, who was part of the security escort for the vehicle as it moved.
The attack killed two Pakistanis and wounded 19 other people, senior police officer Javed Khan said. A US passport was found in the wreckage of the vehicle that was attacked, he said.
Local TV footage showed an SUV at the site that was completely destroyed and burned. All that was left was a carcass of blackened, twisted metal. Pervez Khan said the images were of the US vehicle that was attacked.
A police explosives expert, Abdul Haq, said 110kg of explosives were used in the attack.
Irfan Khan, a local resident, said he was at a nearby shop when the blast occurred.
“I quickly looked back in panic to see smoke and dust erupt from the scene,” Irfan Khan said. “I ran toward the scene along with others and saw two vehicles destroyed and the larger vehicle on fire.”
One dead person was on the ground near the SUV, and a foreigner was injured, Irfan Khan said.
“We put the injured man and the dead body in a private vehicle,” Irfan Khan said. “There were more injured in the surrounding area too.”
Another eyewitness, Wajid Ali, said he helped put another seriously injured foreigner into the vehicle, but another vehicle arrived, presumably from the US consulate, and took away the injured foreigners, Javed Khan said.
Some of the policemen escorting the US vehicle were also wounded in the attack, and their vehicle was damaged, Javed Khan said.