Afghan diplomats killed in Peshawar blast
ISLAMABAD (PAN): Eight people including two Afghan diplomats were killed and 45 others injured on Monday in a suicide attack in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordering Afghanistan, officials said.
Freelance journalist Arif Shafi, a former subeditor with Pajhwok Afghan News, was also killed in the attack. He was to rejoin the Kabuk-based news agency on May 1.
The bomber, targetting a police van, rammed his explosives-rigged motorbike into a passenger bus on the busy University Road in Peshawar, the provincial capital, senior police officer Imran Shahid told reporters.
As the casualties including policemen and children were evacuated to the Khyber Teaching Hospital, an emergency was also declared at the main state-run health facilities in the city.
Zardasht Shams, a spokesman for the Afghan embassy in Islamabad, said two Afghan diplomats were among the dead. One of the victims was Qari Hilal, a son of Qazi Mohammad Amin Wiqad, a member of the High Peace Council. Idrees, Hilal's brother-in-law, was also killed, said a reporter with Radio Liberty, Mujib Angar.
Farhad Ali, a spokesman for the Khyber Teaching Hospital, confirmed the death toll, saying dozens of people had been wounded in the explosion that came a day after three people were killed in a similar attack on an election office in the city.
Police Commissioner Sahibzada Anees passed the area moments before the bombing took place. However, he escaped unhurt. Body parts of the suicide bomber were found at the site. Bomb disposal squad officials said the explosives weighed up to six kilograms.
With pre-election violence intensifying in the country, which goes to the polls on May 11, nine people were killed and 56 injured on Sunday when bombs ripped through election offices in Kohat, Peshawar and Swabi.
The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attacks. “We are against all politicians who are going to become part of any secular, democratic government,” said the group’s spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan.
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