Bomb Kills 25 In Northwest Pakistan

Published January 10, 2012 7:27AM (EST)

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A bomb targeting a militia opposed to the Pakistani Taliban exploded in a market close to the Afghan border on Tuesday, killing 25 people in the deadliest blast in the country in several months, officials said.

The explosion hit vehicles being used by the militia in the Khyber region, said local security officer Khan Dad Khan.

The army has supported the formation of anti-Taliban militias in northwest Pakistan, but the insurgents have ruthlessly attacked the groups over the last two years. Many of the country's bloodiest bombings have been against militia members or their families.

The blast, likely detonated by remote control, wounded 24 other people, said local government official Iqbal Khan.

Islamist militants with links to al-Qaida have carried out hundreds of bombings in Pakistan since 2007, killing many hundreds of soldiers, police, government officials and civilians.

The Pakistani army has carried out offensives against the militants in their strongholds in tribally administered regions like Khyber, but the insurgents have proven to be a resilient foe. The violence has triggered fears in the West that nuclear-armed Pakistan may be buckling under extremism.

That said, the frequency of large-scale attacks outside of the northwest has decreased over the last 18 months.

The last major bombing was in September close to the Swat Valley, when a suicide bomber hit a funeral of a tribal elder opposed to the Taliban, killing 31 people.

By Salon Staff

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