A Taliban suicide bomber killed 10 people in a crowded market on Monday near the Pakistani army headquarters in the city of Rawalpindi, not far from the capital Islamabad, police said.
The attack comes a day after a Taliban bombing inside an army compound in the northwest of the country that killed at least 20 troops.
The blast in the northwest targeted a vehicle in a convoy about to leave a military base in the town of Bannu and drive west to the North Waziristan tribal area, police official Inyat Ali Khan said. Pakistan’s military said the blast wounded 30 troops.
The market, 10 minutes’ walk from the army headquarters, is in one of the most secure areas of the city, said Rawalpindi police chief Akhtar Hayat Lalika. The area was cordoned off by the military immediately after the blast.
Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed responsibility for the blast on behalf of the Islamist insurgents. Military officials said the blast came from an explosive planted in the vehicle, hired by the paramilitary Frontier Corps. While the army has its own transport vehicles, the paramilitary forces often hire vehicles when they need to move troops in large numbers.
On Sunday, another Taliban bombing killed 20 Pakistani soldiers near the largely lawless, tribal region of North Waziristan.
That attack prompted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to cancel his trip to the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.
His government is keen to pursue peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban to end the insurgency but there has been an upsurge in attacks since Sharif won elections in May 2013.
The Pakistani military has been fighting for years in the tribal areas against militants who want to overthrow the government and establish a hard-line Islamic state. The tribal region is also a refuge for insurgents fighting NATO and U.S. forces in neighboring Afghanistan.
Many Pakistanis resent fighting fellow Muslims and have grown tired of the long war. Many see it as having been foisted upon them by the US after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan.
(With inputs from Reuters, AP)
For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App nowFirst Published on: January 20, 2014 11:11 am