Shafeeullah Khan, a senior Peshawar police officer, said militants planted explosives in a Suzuki compact car and parked it on one of Peshawar’s busy roads. The bomb exploded as a three-truck convoy carrying Pakistani paramilitary troops passed by, Khan said. Many of the dead were civilians, and at least three were children, he said. The explosives appeared to be detonated by remote control.
Khan did not know whether any of the casualties included members of the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force that provides security throughout the country’s troubled northwest. The blast partially damaged the last of the three trucks in the convoy. At least 35 people were injured in the explosion, many in serious condition.
Following his decisive victory in May parliamentary elections, Sharif has promised to rein in the country’s insurgents, including the Pakistani Taliban, the group responsible for many of the terror attacks on thousands of civilians and security personnel in recent years. Though he has talked of starting talks with Pakistani Taliban leaders to end the insurgency, the group has continued to launch bombing attacks across the country.
Taliban leaders claimed responsibility for an attack on mountain climbers in the far northern Gilgit region last week that killed 10 foreigners, including one American of Chinese descent, and a Pakistani guide. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack in Peshawar.
After meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Islamabad on Sunday, Sharif told reporters that Pakistan was “resolved to tackle the menace of extremism and terrorism with renewed vigor and close cooperation with our friends.”
Cameron, meanwhile, pledged Britain’s support in improving counter-terrorism tactics in Pakistan, including assistance in combating militants’ reliance on roadside bombs and support in better securing the country’s infrastructure. “The enemies of Pakistan are enemies of Britain, and we will stand together and conduct this fight against extremism and terrorism together.”
Special correspondent Zulfiqar Ali reported from Peshawar, and staff writer Alex Rodriguez reported from Islamabad.