US secretary of state arrives in Islamabad on Friday, amid straining relations between the two countries.
|Bombings have killed dozens in recent weeks amid a government offensive against the Pakistani Taliban [Reuters]|
At least eight people have been killed and 10 others wounded in an explosion at a marketplace in a tribal region near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials say.
The blast on Saturday was reportedly caused by a remote-controlled bomb detonation at Pasht bazaar in Salarzai, 35km northeast of Khar, the main town of Bajaur agency.
Saad Mohammad, a regional government administrator, said four people were killed among the market stalls.
“The explosive was planted somewhere in a restaurant. Many people were there when it exploded,” he said.
A further four people died in hospital, medical officials said.
Two tribal elders, Malik Tehsil Khan and Malik Mayn Jan, were among those reported dead.
“We think that they were the main targets because they were the senior members of [the] local peace committee which has formed a lashkar [tribal force] against Taliban,” Mohammad said.
|Saturday’s deadly attack in Bajaur occurred as Hillary Clinton was wrapping up her visit to Pakistan|
A Pakistani Taliban spokesman said his group was responsible for the attack.
“We carried out the bombing against the peace committee because they had joined the government and were maligning Taliban,” Ehsanullah Ehsan, speaking on behalf of the Tehrik-e-Taliban, told the AFP news agency.
“We had warned them before and warn them again that they should disband this anti-Taliban peace committee otherwise we will continue to attack them till they are totally eliminated.”
Saturday’s bomb blast came as Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, was wrapping up her visit to Pakistan with words of conciliation but also some stern demands for the country.
Al Jazeera Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, said Clinton asked for very decisive steps to be taken by the government to combat a rise in extremism and extremist groups operating in the country.
“Clinton did not make reference to what these steps are but did provide Pakistan with a list of names,
including members of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mullah Omar and Sirajuddin Haqqani – the head of the
Haqqani network based in North Waziristan,” our correspondent said.
The previous day, Clinton pledged further support to Pakistan, which reportedly has 140,000 troops committed to its northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan.
The same day a suicide car bomber killed 27 people in the town of Hangu, in the country’s northwest.
The Pakistani Taliban attacked a heavily guarded naval base in the southern city of Karachi on Sunday, during which 10 military officiers were killed and two aircraft destroyed.