Attack on Pakistan market kills 17, hurts more than 40

Updated 18 December 2012
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Attack on Pakistan market kills 17, hurts more than 40

PESHAWAR/JAMRUD: A car bomb exploded in a crowded market in Pakistan's troubled northwest tribal region near the Afghan border yesterday, killing 17 people and wounding more than 40 others, officials said.
The bomb went off in the town of Jamrud, killing or wounding people waiting for buses to take them across the northwest and to other parts of the country, according to officials.
Pools of blood and charred flesh littered the roadside, along with at least 20 burnt vehicles, said an AFP reporter. 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 on the Afghan border. The Taliban and other Al-Qaeda-linked groups, who stage attacks in both countries, have strongholds in the zone.
The 17 dead included five boys and two women, said Abdul Qudoos, a doctor at a local hospital in Jamrud town, where the attack occurred. At least 44 people were wounded, he said.
The explosives were packed in a small, white car that was parked in the middle of the road, blocking traffic, said Shireen Afridi, who was nearby buying a phone card when the bomb exploded.
Local TV footage showed several cars and shops in the market that were badly damaged. Residents threw buckets of water on burning vehicles as rescue workers transported the wounded to the hospital.
The market was located close to the office of the assistant political agent for Khyber, said Khan, who works in the office. Initial reports wrongly indicated the women's waiting area was for the political office, not the bus stop.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Khyber is home to various militant groups, including the Pakistani Taleban, which have waged a bloody insurgency against the government for the past few years.
A Pakistani Taleban spokesman in the South Waziristan tribal area, Asim Mehsud, claimed responsibility in a telephone call to The Associated Press.
The army has carried out offensives against the Taleban in most parts of the tribal region, including Khyber, but militants continue to carry out regular attacks in the country.
On Saturday a suicide squad of five targeted the airport in Peshawar, the main northwestern city close to Jamrud, killing five civilians and blowing a hole in the perimeter wall.
Elsewhere yesterday, gunmen killed a provincial government spokesman in the southwest Pakistan in an apparent sectarian attack, and then shot to death two nearby policemen, police said.
The assault, claimed by the Pakistani Taleban, sparked prolonged gunfire and forced authorities to close the airport, a commercial hub and air force base on the edge of the tribal belt.
It was the second Islamist militant attack in four months on a military air base in nuclear-armed Pakistan.
On Sunday a policeman and five militants were killed following gun battles between security forces and militants suspected of having been involved in the airport attack, security officials said.



The government says more than 35,000 people have died due to terrorism in the country since the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
According to an AFP tally there have been more than 100 bombings, killing 550 people, so far this year, compared to 203 in 2009 when the death toll was tallied at 1,840.
FROM: AGENCIES


Trump, Moon discuss North Korea’s threat to scrap summit

Updated 20 May 2018
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Trump, Moon discuss North Korea’s threat to scrap summit

  • Kim Jong Un has threatened to pull out of the talks with the US after calls for a unilateral nuclear abandonment
  • North Korea also canceled at the last minute a high-level meeting with the South, protesting joint military drills between Seoul and Washington

SEOUL: US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday discussed North Korea’s recent threats to cancel its unprecedented summit with Washington, Seoul’s presidential office said.
After weeks of warm words and diplomatic backslapping, Pyongyang abruptly threatened to pull out of the planned summit next month because of US demands for “unilateral nuclear abandonment,” according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.
North Korea also canceled at the last minute a high-level meeting with the South, protesting joint military drills between Seoul and Washington.
In a phone conversation on Sunday, Trump and Moon “exchanged views on various actions taken by North Korea recently,” Moon’s office said in a statement.
The two leaders agreed to “work closely” for the success of the landmark summit in Singapore on June 12, which would be the first meeting between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader.
They are due to meet in Washington on Tuesday.
North Korea’s sudden shift in attitude followed a weeks-long charm offensive that has seen leader Kim Jong Un hold a historic summit with Moon and meet twice with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
At a dramatic summit last month in the Demilitarised Zone dividing their two countries, Kim and Moon pledged to pursue nuclear disarmament and a peace treaty.
Pyongyang also raised hopes ahead of the US summit by announcing it will destroy its nuclear testing site next week.
But the promise is open to interpretation on both sides and the North has spent decades developing its atomic arsenal, culminating last year in its sixth nuclear test — by far its biggest to date — and the launch of missiles capable of reaching the US.