A car bomb attack yesterday killed 16 people and wounded about 70 in a Pakistani market in the northwestern town of Jamrud, close to the Afghan border, officials said.
The bomb exploded in a small market near a bus stop, killing and wounding people waiting for buses to take them across the northwest and to other parts of the country, officials said.
Pools of blood and charred pieces of human flesh littered the roadside, along with at least 20 burnt vehicles. Clothes, school books, children’s shoes and burqas lay everywhere.
Jamrud is in Khyber District, which is part of Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt where the Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked groups have strongholds.
A government office of the district administration was about 100m from where the bomb detonated, but was not damaged in the attack, the reporter said.
“At least 16 people were killed and 71 others wounded in the blast caused by an explosive-laden car, which had been parked very close to the waiting area for passengers,” said Mutahir Zeb, Khyber’s most senior administration official.
He said ordinary civilians and not the government office, some distance from the explosion, were the target.
“We are still are ascertaining what procedure was exactly used to blow up the vehicle,” he said.
Local administration official Jehangir Azam also confirmed that 16 people died.
“The blast also damaged 10 vehicles and more than 15 shops in the market,” Azam said.
Two intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the explosives had been packed into a Suzuki Alto vehicle.
Pakistan suffers frequent bomb and suicide attacks blamed on Islamist militant groups. Its troops have for years been fighting against homegrown armed groups in the tribal belt.