Pakistan: Suicide bomber kills 36 at funeral

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A suicide bomber struck a funeral attended by anti-Taliban militiamen in north-west Pakistan yesterday, killing at least 36 mourners and wounding more than 100 people in the deadliest militant attack in the country this year.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast near the city of Peshawar, the gateway to the tribally-administered regions bordering Afghanistan where militants are at their strongest. The area struck yesterday is home to several tribal armies that battle the Pakistani branches of the Taliban with the government's encouragement.

Zahid Khan, a local police officer, said that about 300 people were attending the funeral for the wife of a militiaman in the Matani area when the bomber struck. Witnesses said the bomber, who appeared to be in his late teens, showed up at the funeral just as it was about to begin.

"We thought this youth was coming to attend the funeral, but he suddenly detonated a bomb," said Syed Alam Khan, one of the mourners.

A Taliban spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan, said the insurgents targeted the militiamen because they were allied with the Pakistani government and, effectively, the United States. "We will carry out more such attacks if they do not stop their activities," he said from an undisclosed location.

The local militia commander, Dilawar Khan, said that the government did not provide them with the resources they needed.